How to help children relax during a physical examination?

As medical personnel, you might be well aware of the fact that a lot of people don’t like coming to the hospital for even to a basic physician. Adults have, on different occasions expressed concerns over how they might get prodded, or palpated. For some, just the mere thoughts of physical examination get them worked up.

If adults can be so shifty about check-ups, what can we say in terms of children! Even a trip to the dentist is already a trigger for examination stress. Children begin to cry, clinging to their parents or wards. They refuse to allow the doctor touch them, and can be a real situation for pediatricians to cope with.


A shouting child in the office can be quite a stress. Because children below the age of 6 sometimes cannot tell you where it really hurts, their stillness is a key requirement for diagnosis. For instance, a 5-year-old, even with all his smarts, will gesture towards his whole belly if asked where he feels pain. Even if he feels pain just in one or the other part of his body, he will indicate his whole belly because he is a child. Asking him repeatedly to specify would be like looking for edubirdie research proposal writer in a garden.

The parents’ role in eliciting unwholesome behaviors during check-ups is also worth mentioning. Parents have inbuilt doting relations, so the child can see the event as an opportunity to throw a tantrum, knowing fully well that mommy is there to back him up. Even by the way they approach their local pediatricians, some parents set the pace for how their ward will react to them. We tend to forget that children observe a lot and pick up tips from how we treat others, or how we deal with certain things.

Irrespective of the strict outlook of the healthcare sector, there are still some fun ways children can be made to relax, while you get the most out of conducting a thorough checkup:


1.Tell the parent to leave the room.

This sounds mundane, but actually works! A certain children’s doctor working in one of the former Soviet Union countries noted that his little patients were more co-operative when parents were asked to leave the office, leaving the child with a nurse and the doctors themselves. The assumed reason was that parents tend to add to the exam anxiety, especially mothers who usually worry over the moon. Also, children have a penchant for misbehavior when their parents are nearby.


2.Bright colors

Children are wonderful little humans whose minds quickly take in colors. A colorful environment means warmth, which is why we always surround them with toys, scrapbooks and even picture books. These materials may contain a test for kids, from coloring the needed answer to just creating their own version of how a certain picture should be. As a physician, endeavor to make your office look a bit warmer when you have your reception day for children. Wear a pair of scrubs with teddies or even popular cartoon characters. Get some portable, small stuffed toys and create a little playing space in the office (if you can). Wearing a pair of faux Mickey Mouse ears can be over the line for some doctors; the general aim is to make the child feel like he’s at home. Children have been noticed to run from anyone in white when in the hospital. Wearing warm colors can place them at ease.




A child doesn’t understand that you are stressed, your taxes are due, and you are running late for a family reunion. When they see you frown, their mind interprets it as ‘danger zone, don’t go near this person’. They get scared, and unsure whether to trust you or not. Smiling is one of the few examination tips that can sometimes, go a long way. Combine it with a gentle, soothing voice and a child can get calm enough to work with you.


4.Get free with them

No, I don’t mean to tell them your secrets. Get a little talkative, tell them about your imaginary friend Hamsy, get them to tell you about their toys. Children get comfortable when you interact with them on their level. Tell them little, short stories that will keep their attention while you seamlessly do your job. Their parents will be grateful you made their little one feel cozy while saving their lives.