Adults know that a routine eye exam is nothing to worry about — they are non-invasive, usually quick, and relatively painless. Children, however, don’t typically have that understanding. For kids, a doctor’s appointment is a doctor’s appointment, and for many, that can be intimidating, or even scary!
Here at the Eye Care Center of Northern Colorado, we work hard to provide a friendly, welcoming space for each of our patients, whether they’re kids or kids-at-heart. We also know how important it is to get children in for initial and routine eye exams as early as possible. On the one hand, we want to get a good baseline idea of your child’s eye health right away, so we can use it for comparison in the future. On the other hand, it’s simply a great idea to get them in early so that they can get used to the idea of a regular eye exam every year.
So how can you prepare your kiddo for their upcoming eye appointment? We recognize that no single child is the same, but we do have some advice that seems to help universally.
Children often respond well to honest, simple answers from adults. Make sure they know ahead of the appointment that they will be visiting the eye doctor, and answer any questions they may have as honestly and briefly as you can. Let them know the doctor will be asking them about colors, letters, shapes, and more. If the conversation steers toward eye drops, help your child understand that, while they may feel strange or uncomfortable, they are not designed to cause pain. If you want to know more specific details about your child’s upcoming appointment, please feel free to contact us!
Find Fun and Familiar Ways to Talk About Exams
One of the reasons children fear medical professionals is a lack of understanding or information. If you can present the experience to them in a way that is comforting or fun, you have a better chance of a smooth, uneventful exam. Our friendly, experienced doctors are listed, along with their photos, on our website. Take a moment to “introduce” your child to their doctor, so that they have a friendly face to keep in their mind, rather than a “mystery person” in a white coat.
Many children’s programs feature episodes about going to the doctor, some of which are even specifically about the eye doctor. Try doing a quick search of your child’s favorite show to find an episode that deals with this common topic. Discuss it in the context of an eye exam to help warm them up to the experience.
Reassure Them With Your Presence
Most importantly, let your child know that you will be with them throughout the exam process. Having a parent or trusted guardian throughout the exam is one of the best ways to calm a child’s fears. As a parent, it’s important to let your child answer the questions presented to them by their doctor. Don’t worry too much about the “correctness” of their answers — their doctor knows that children aren’t always the most accurate, and can ask you more specific questions if they need more detail!
We Are Here If You Need Us!
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at one of our Northern Colorado offices if you have further questions about your child’s upcoming appointment. Our goal is to cultivate a regular, pleasant eye health routine with each of our patients, and we know how important it is for this to begin as early as possible!