Maddie has been to many doctor appointments in her lifetime, like a lot of children, whether for a well-child check up or for sickness. She has always done good sitting on my lap but nervous still for the doctor. After her first appointment to get her shots though, this all changed.
When it was time to go back for a visit we knew it would not go over smoothly unless we prepared her, so we decided to pretend to be the doctor and acted out a checklist of things the doctor would do — and promised there would be no shots. This worked! After feeling more comfortable about what would happen, she decided to take the doctor’s tools and use them on him.
Naturally, upon returning from the doctor’s office, it was now her turn to be our doctor.
She went around the house picking up any knick-knack that resembled an instrument used by the doctor and attempted to use it on us. Realizing how much she enjoyed this, my mom bought her a kids doctor kit with the main doctor tools. Maddie was so excited she doctored everyone several times the 1st week she had it and still does even to this day.
At times it would be a long while in between seeing the doctor so her play with the kit would fall by the way side. However, now that I am pregnant and going to the doctor at least once a month she has become very fascinated with it all again. She got such a kick out of the doctor listening to my stomach and getting to hear the baby’s heartbeat that her new step towards being a “doctor” includes listening to her “boy” (of which we don’t know the sex yet) with her stethoscope.
She has become quite a little professional even, having some of the terminology down. She will come in and tell you that you’re sick and say “lay down, its ok, no scared, no shots,” like we usually say to her when she goes to the doctor. Then she will bring in her little kids doctor kit and start working on you. It has instruments that she can check your blood pressure with, look in your eyes and ears, and a little plastic band aid she puts on your wrist when she is done. It has a toy thermometer that she takes your temperature with, a stethoscope, as mentioned before that she holds to your heart and belly and tells you to “breath” so she can pretend to listen. But her favorite piece is a little medicine syringe that she uses for both medicine and as a shot.
With some tools from her kids doctor kit in hand, she can’t withhold her silly, evil laugh as she pretends to give you a shot in the arm. Overall, she is a good little “doctor.” At the end of our exams she reaffirms to us “good job” and then provides a sticker and a fake lolly pop.
I was really proud and relieved that we turned something she feared into something she could use as play, and it got her imagination going. Playing pretend is one of the best things you can do with your kids, even if it feels embarrassing. They just think its fun. Even if they want to be animals for the day, go along with it, never tell them that its too silly — you want them to use their imaginations.
Do you have a story about your child’s favorite pretend? We’d love to hear about it. Submit your adventure here.