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Parenting: Preparing kids for hospital and doctor visits

pediatrics kids hospital
Posted at 6:16 AM, Nov 09, 2021

Needles, surgeries and hospital stays can be scary for even the bravest of adults.

In this morning's Parenting: Navigating the Journey Together, we take a look at how to ease our children's minds when it comes those very things.

Meghan Myrick says she's always wanted to work with children, but not as a school teacher.

As a child life specialist, she says she gets the best of both worlds.

"I kinda get to teach about hospital things, being at the hospital, and make things better for them," says Myrick. "Last month I think I saw about 85 children."

Each child is different than the last, but for all of them Myrick says she wants the same outcome.

"Seeing the look on kids faces when they overcome something really scary," she says. "Like needles or different procedures, looking at their faces, and they realize that they did it. It's very cool to me."

Meghan says, when it comes to those tough conversations, it's all about how you talk to kids. She recommends getting down to their level.

"Talk in more child friendly language. The words shot and needle can be scary. So, use the word poke and tell them how it feels. Instead of 'it hurts,' maybe say that it's like a pinch or a poke. Maybe a little bit of pressure. Those tend to help out a lot."

The biggest mistake Myrick says that she see's parents make is not telling their children they are going to the doctor.

"Sometimes parents won't tell their kids that they're going to the doctor. A lot of times kids come in and think that they're going to McDonald's or the park That's one of the things that I see the most," she says. "Sometimes parents don't know what to say. Just do your research and learn it. Sometimes parents thinks if they don't tell their kid that will make it better, but in fact, it makes it worse."

So whether it's for a vaccination, flu shot or surgery, Meghan says honesty is the best policy. Use words that your child will understand, and know there are people just like Meghan who will be there to help guide you along the way.

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