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Tips for taking toddlers to the hospital

Tuesday, 6 February 2018  |  Mummy and Little Me


Top tips for taking a toddler to a hospital appointment from a CHD mum.


It seems going to the hospital is just second nature for us now. With Elijah having a lifelong heart condition we will have at least one annual appointment at the hospital, and this will continue for the rest of his life.

However, if you do not have an existing condition and do get a referral it can be hard to convince a toddler to play ball. Or sometimes even if they have had the same check up numerous time before they suddenly will kick off, leaving you a hot, slightly sweaty and stressed mess collapsed in the waiting room.

In previous experiences, dentist, GP, hairdressers and last years appointments, Elijah was not happy in fact he was hysterical, and the appointments didn’t go well. But, I had some success with a dentist check up and getting him to have the flu vaccine by taking him on my own, and preparing him for exactly what was going to happen. (NB- the haircut was an epic fail and we had to do it at home.)

So, here are my top tips on taking a toddler to a hospital appointment.

  1. Get them used to the idea of when and where it is happening. For a while we said to Elijah after Christmas we are going to the hospital and we then counted down the days. He knew that he was going on a certain day and was okay with this.
  2. Talk, talk, talk, for around a month or so I continuously brought up the idea of everything that would happen. How we would get there, what and where we would go when we did, that he would be weighed and measured and see the Doctor for his scan.
  3. Practice via roleplay- we spent a long-time practicing getting measured, weighed and scanned at home so he wasn’t scared when we arrived. There are also some great programmes on C Beebies that show children what it is like to have something done.
  4. Offer an incentive, I told Elijah if he was good for the whole appointment then he would get to go to the toy shop on the way home and pick something.
  5. Speak about the appointment afterwards in a positive way so they too remember it as a positive experience.

We had a very good check up which saw us being discharged from hospital until Summer 2019 and Elijah learnt not to be afraid of going for his appointment.

Next milestone is his pre-school boosters so wish me luck!

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