Taking your children in for a checkup can be a confusing and uncomfortable experience. Often, kids aren’t too keen on getting shots, having blood drawn, or even having their temperature taken. However, all of these are important for ensuring the health of your child and can help keep them healthy as they grow older.
With that in mind, it is often wise to teach your children about the importance of regular health screenings because, one day, the person deciding whether to submit blood samples to True Health Diagnostics will be them. And you want them to make the right choice.
If you aren’t sure how to start these conversations with your kids, here are some tips to get you started.
Medical terminology can be challenging to understand at any age, so you can’t expect an elementary schooler to comprehend the implications of not getting their MMR booster shot. However, you can help them understand what immunizations are and how they keep them safe. Helping them understand that it helps keep them from getting sick can give them a bit of perspective. But spare them the details regarding how immunizations work until they are old enough to understand without being scared.
In most cases, by keeping things simple, you can make the information accessible without making it intimidating (or even frightening). Begin with the largest overview possible, and allow their questions to help guide how specific you need to be. Often, once they find an answer satisfying, they will let you know.
If your child had a classmate or relative that went through health difficulties, sometimes that experience can serve as a jumping off point for more discussion. Often, it is challenging to create a frame of reference that is outside of a younger child’s direct experience. So, if something happened to occur that they have knowledge of, take the opportunity to answer any questions and help them understand. If it ties in easily to the importance of annual physicals and certain exams, then use that to reinforce the message.
Many health topics are actually covered in books and on websites that are designed for specific age groups. For example, Immunize for Good has a resource center to help parents find materials for their children while Little Parachutes has books to help children learn about a number of situations including things like going to the doctor.
These publications help present the information with a level of simplicity that can be hard to develop on the spot, so consider checking into some resources prior to them being needed. That way, if your child has questions or has an upcoming appointment, you can have the information you need available when the time is right.
By approaching important health topics early, you can ensure your child becomes comfortable with the idea more quickly. Just make sure you keep things appropriate for their age and be prepared to answer any questions that may arise. By laying a suitable foundation about the importance of checkups and other medical screenings, you can position them to maintain a healthier life as they grow up. Because one day, they will be making the hard choices on their own, so make sure they have the information they need to move in the right direction.