Easing Medical Visit Anxiety For Children
The main symptoms of anxiety in children include shyness, nervousness, fear, and acting out. These symptoms can certainly be normal for kids, but the difference is that in anxious children, these behaviors cause significant interference with the quality of life of the child and with normal, day-to-day activities. One area where anxious kids often struggle is visits to their medical appointments.
The Brave Care Way
- Explain before doing: We will talk your child through all parts of the exam and treatment
- Demonstrate on parents (or older siblings) first: Everyone feels calmer when they know what to expect.
- Calm voices and deep breaths: I am constantly amazed at how effective a calm manner, as well as breathing exercises, can help even very young children.
- Mild anxiety medicine: For very anxious or scared children, we keep a medicine called midazolam (Versed) on hand that is spritzed in the nose (no pokes!) and works very well to calm nervous kids with essentially no risk of side effects.
Tips for home/ongoing anxiety care for children
- Meditation and Mindfulness: There are many practitioners around Portland who can teach you and your family how to implement these practices.
- Biofeedback: A more complex treatment that teaches your child to use measurable information supplied by their bodies to ease anxiety.
- Counseling: Extremely helpful for anxious children.
- Nutrition and Sleep: We can't overstate the importance of healthy food and good sleep for all kinds of reasons, anxiety included.