July 18, 2012

Four Rewards for Your Child After Visiting the Doctor’s Office

A child receives oral polio vaccine during a 2...
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If you’re lucky, your pediatrician and any specialists you may need to deal with take the time to establish a rapport with your child. But too often, time and money pressure keep the doctors moving fast, or the procedures that must be done might be so uncomfortable that there’s no way for your child to come out of the visit feeling happy.

No parent wants to resort to bribery, but sometimes it’s a must — and might help your child associate enduring a doctor’s visit with something more pleasant than the last shot he got. Once he’s old enough, he’ll understand the concept of doing something that’s momentarily unpleasant for his own longer-time good. But until he hits that point of comprehension, consider these options for rewarding your child for good behavior during a doctor’s visit:

Food. Stay away from candy if you can; You’re trying to solve a problem, not create another one. Instead, splurge on something at least somewhat healthy that you don’t often let your child have. Cost to you: Everybody has to eat — let it be something he enjoys.

Entertainment. Let your child pick out a new video game or movie to rent after the visit. Cost to you: Pennies.

Toys. A really tough doctor’s visit might merit a toy he can take home “for ever and ever.” If you’re trying to teach your child about budgeting, give him “allowance credit” he can accumulate over time, then redeem for the toy of his choice once he has enough.

Together time. Most parents are busy nowadays, and sometimes your child wants nothing more than your time and attention. Together time should be a priority anyway, but by taking the time to do something extra-special (a favorite activity that you and your child don’t get to do together very often) you might provide just the incentive it takes for him to see some benefit in going to the doctor.

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