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Five simple ways to prepare your child for a lab test

Medical tests can be scary, but you can help create a calm environment and build confidence for your child. Here are five simple ways you can both be more prepared:

1: Empower yourself

Prior to your child’s appointment, discuss your concerns and questions with his or her doctor. This can help you have peace of mind about the testing process. Use the My Trip to Quest Diagnostics coloring and activity book to help answer your child’s questions, too.

2: Set realistic expectations

One of the best ways to set realistic expectations is to not pretend the experience will be painless. Instead of promising that a finger prick or blood draw won’t hurt, reassure your child that the process will be quick, the pain won’t last, and you’ll stay close. After the test, offer praise and comfort as he or she needs.

3: Schedule wisely

Schedule the test at a time when your child is less likely to be tired or hungry. If your child is coming in for a blood test, eating beforehand will help decrease any chance of lightheadedness. The only exception to eating prior to the appointment is if your child’s test requires fasting in which case, it can help to schedule first thing in the morning, and bring a snack for afterward.

4: Communicate beforehand

You know your child best. Talking about feelings or practicing calming techniques before his or her appointment can help. Make a game of staying still. Teach your child to inhale for three seconds and then exhale. Breathing exercises help your child feel in control of his or her body and helps make it easier to draw.

5: Go with the flow

Drinking plenty of water is important for urine and blood tests. Unless specially instructed by his or her doctor, encourage your child to drink water before the office visit. A fuller bladder will help him or her urinate during their appointment. Drinking water also hydrates veins, which can help make a blood draw easier.

You can’t guarantee the experience will be totally pain free for your child. However, these five tips will help increase your chance of an experience that will build confidence.

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