Why My Child Asked to Play Doctor’s Office After She Got Scared

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Playlistening with Emilie Leeks

Special Time has brought such positive changes to our middle child, who is four. Before we started implementing it she had seemed withdrawn and much less cheerful. Now she gets more excited, laughs a lot more, shares more verbally, and is more affectionate to us.

Scared girl looking out in post about using play to help fearsOn school days I try to have regular 10-minute Special Time with her when her big brother is out at school, and her little brother is having his midday nap. She really looks forward to it. She knows that we always have the Special Time after we’ve had a bit of quiet time, and she usually has something planned for me!

A few months ago, she came with a new game to play.

Her request came a day after we had gone to see a nurse for some routine injections. We are always very honest about these things with our children, and had been open about the fact that yes, it was going to hurt a bit and wasn’t a very nice thing to have to do, but that I would be with her the whole time and that it wouldn’t hurt for long.

She cried when it was time for the injections, but sat still on my lap and they were over really quickly. But, afterwards, she talked about the experience very tearfully, and was really worried when the plasters came off. (I think she thought it would hurt again, or still be bleeding, or something like that).

The next day, she came downstairs ready for our Special Time. She usually chooses from a whole range of activities which she comes up with herself – from reading stories to jumping on cushions.

But on this day she decided to play ‘doctors’.

She wanted to be the doctor, and so she got her equipment ready. I pretended to be really scared, and when she actually did give me the injections, I wiggled and squirmed and tried to escape, saying things like “No, no, I don’t want to, I don’t like injections – waaaaah!!!”

My daughter giggled a lot and told me very sternly to keep still!

She said things like “I know you don’t like them, but I have to do it”, which gave me an insight into her understanding of the situation.

I could see her release so much tension through her laughter.

She ended up choosing the same game (with minor variations) for three or four consecutive Special Times with me and then she just stopped. Since then, she talks about her injections, and about injections in general, very cheerfully indeed.

Read more about Special Time, in this article and checklist How to make the most of Special Time with your child

meet the instructor

Emilie Leeks lives in Berkshire, UK with her husband and three children. She is a certified Hand in Hand Instructor with additional experience in speech, language and communication issues.

This post was originally published on Emilie’s blog Journeys-in-Parenting. You can also contact Emilie through her Facebook page.

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