Family & Parenting

7 Things Your Pediatrician Wishes You’d Stop Doing

Are you guilty of any of these pediatrician pet peeves?

If you’re a parent, you’ve probably logged countless hours at your pediatrician’s office. Even a strong, healthy child will have innumerable visits to the doctor’s office throughout their childhood, not to mention visits to urgent care and the emergency room.

Needless to say, parents and pediatricians have to work together to keep children healthy and happy. With that in mind, here’s a list of 7 things that pediatricians wish parents would stop doing.

1. Freaking Out Over Fevers

I remember that when my daughter was a baby, our pediatrician told us that if she had a fever, it was okay to “let it burn.” That was surprising advice to my husband and I, but it turns out she was right. Fevers are the body’s natural defense mechanism to combat infection and, in most cases, they’re not a cause for concern. So don’t panic if your child has a fever, pediatricians say, unless it’s over 104 degrees or persists for days without improvement.

2. Teasing Your Kid About Shots

Children go through a barrage of shots and vaccinations throughout their childhood. And one major pet peeve that pediatricians have is parents who try to “lighten the mood” by making poorly-timed jokes about the process, such as saying “Make sure you use a big needle!” and other silly remarks. Listen, it hurts to see your child in pain, so it’s normal to want to break the tension, but doctors say it’s better to be honest and straight-forward, saying something like, “You’re going to get a shot now. It will hurt, but just for a moment, and then it will feel better, and it will help to keep you healthy and strong.”

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3. Comparing Your Child To Other Children

Every child is different, and everyone hits their milestones at different times. As long as your child is developing normally, there’s no reason to fret over the fact that he doesn’t know as many words as his slightly older cousin, or that your daughter is taking longer to potty train than your son. Rather than comparing children, your pediatrician would rather you focus on your child’s day-to-day health and happiness, and trust that he will grow and develop at his own rate.

4. Overdoing It On The Juice

Many parents are guilty of relying on juice boxes to keep their kids hydrated and happy, especially on long car rides or during snack time. But many pediatricians think that parents reach for juice too often, and that the sugar in these drinks make them a poor nutritional choice, even if it’s 100% juice and all natural. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics says that fruit juice “has no essential role in healthy, balanced diets of children.” Peds say: Water is always best, as is offering whole fruit instead of fruit juice.

5. Being Unprepared

Getting your kids to the pediatrician’s office in time for their appointment isn’t easy, especially when they’re still very young and you’re dealing with diapers, nap times, bottles and missing lovies. So expect that on the morning of the appointment, you’re going to be be super-stressed and barely able to keep all the moving parts in order. To that end, do yourself a favor and write down a note with all of your questions and concerns for your doctor, so that when your kid is screaming bloody murder on your lap in the pediatrician’s office, you’ll be able to keep your cool and remember why you’re there.

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6. Bringing Highly Contagious Children In Without Forewarning

Did your know that your pediatrician has a “secret” entrance for kids who might be wildly contagious with chicken pox or some other notoriously transmittable infection? Well, I didn’t either, but I learned this when I called to make an appointment about my child possibly having chicken pox. “Don’t bring her in the front!” they begged me. Other doctors have a “sick” waiting room and a well child waiting room. Try to respect these guidelines so that other healthy children don’t wind up sick.

7. Threatening Your Child To Make Them Behave

Sometimes, parents try to their threaten their kids in order to make them behave in the pediatrician’s office. But this makes doctors cringe. They’ve seen it all. They know kids get scared and anxious and upset in their office, and they don’t mind the screaming or the crying (hey, they wouldn’t have chosen this field if they couldn’t handle the sound of a crying kid). So instead of threatening or punishing your kid, peds advise parents to stay calm, speak gently and be understanding.

Are you guilty of any of these pediatrician pet peeves?