Even though children may have been going to the doctor since birth, there may come a time when a check-up becomes particularly upsetting. As children grow physically, they’re also growing in awareness of their own bodies and their ability to remember painful past experiences.

Children don't like to be probed and poked, especially when the probing and the poking happens unexpectedly. And they certainly don't like to have painful or uncomfortable things happening to them. Injections ("shots") hurt, if just for a moment, stethoscopes are often cold on a chest, and blood pressure cuffs can squeeze an arm tightly. Everyone is better able to manage if they're prepared by knowing what may hurt as well as what probably won’t hurt.

In this set of resources, we will focus on how you can help children work on using play to better understand feelings, develop imagination, and feel proud of themselves for facing a new experience.

Childhood is full of new experiences. Whether going to the doctor, traveling on an airplane, or visiting a relative’s house for the first time, talking about and planning for new experiences can help children manage their fears and expectations.