To most parents, all of the riches in the world are not as valuable as their children. It’s no surprise that finding a medical professional to entrust the care of your most precious possession is a stressful task. Here are a few tips for finding a doctor that you trust to take care of your child:
- Make your child’s comfort a priority. Doctors offices can be intimidating places for small kids. The stark environment, the intimidating medical tools, and having a person they are not familiar with closely examine them is overwhelming. It is important to find a doctor who understands a child’s emotional needs in addition to their physical well-being, and caters to that to create a comfortable environment for the child. Most pediatricians offer interviews with parents at no cost; don’t be afraid to schedule several interviews and bring your child along before finding a medical professional to stick with. Pay close attention to how the pediatrician interacts with your child and how your child responds.
Bonus Tip: Even after finding a great physician, your child might experience anxiety at the doctors. It is helpful to prepare them for their visit by talking about it, playing “make believe doctor,” and reading books or watching children’s shows about visiting the doctor so they understand what is going to happen.
- Get input from family and friends. Getting a referral from someone who is happy with their child’s doctor will tell you more than all the medical licensing in the world. If you are new to an area, you can ask for referrals from parenting groups or look online at referral websites.
Sometimes, in in an emergency, you don’t have the opportunity to do in-depth research. If you need help finding a hospital with a reputable pediatric service, looking online is a good option.
- Create a list of questions to ask a physician in your interview. When finding a medical professional for your child, it is important to look for a pediatrician who supports the methodology you follow. For example, if you follow the attachment parenting methodology, you might feel unsupported by a doctor who chastises you for co-sleeping or your gentle parenting methods. Likewise, if you follow a different vaccination schedule, extended breastfeeding, or you prefer natural medical treatments, these are medical philosophies that you should ask about in your initial consultation with a potential pediatrician.
- Make communication a priority. Even if you have a pediatrician you love, you will find it very very frustrating if you are in a difficult situation and cannot get a hold of them. In your initial consultation, make sure to ask how your doctor prefers to be contacted if you have a question, and make sure the process is easy. Even if they have a great channel for communication, if you find that they are actually difficult to get a hold of when you need them, it’s not a bad idea to look for another doctor.
Do you have any other tips for finding a great pediatrician? Please share them in the comment section below.