Some kids are completely wary of new people. Stranger danger is stronger in some kids than others. So how do you make a child more comfortable when he or she is extremely wary of new people or cry’s every time the family comes in for their adjustments?
Today I share 6 easy to implement tips.
I was recently asked this exact question by a chiropractor who was concerned about how to break the ice and build rapport with a toddler who didn’t want to have a bar of her.
The toddler would cry as soon as she entered the room. This chiropractor could hardly do an exam and had difficulty getting close enough to perform an adjustment. The CAs would take the child to the reception area while mum got adjusted, be he would get so distraught. Now it has become so stressful that the parents although wanting their child to be adjusted, are worried that the stress for everyone isn’t worth it.
We all want to walk into a room with a parent and child and have them enjoy their time straight away. Not only does this make our job easier but it helps the parents relax if they are a little nervous too.
The real issue in some of these situations is
• A previous practitioner didn’t respect the child’s breathing space. Perhaps they didn’t take the time to allow the child to relax before asking for the child to be handed over
• Maybe the child had a bad experience with a different adult all together and are now very scared of anyone coming too close
• Some kids just like to stay on mums lap no matter what
So what do we need to do to ensure that each child feels comfortable and starts to warm up to you?
How do you break the ice?
Here is what I do in this situation, it is trial and error but here are my ideas
1. Always adjust the child first, don’t split parent & child before the adjustment
2. Get the parent to bring the child’s favourite toy / blanket
3. Aim to adjust them while sitting in mums lap for the next 3-4 adjustments – some adjustments are better than none
4. Take your time when you enter the room. Sit down and talk to mum, don’t make eye contact with bubs for 3 mins. Sit front on
5. Give bubs toy and toy after toy to hold and look at (small ones). Completely distract them by over loading them. Don’t play though, continue talking back to mum
6. Then as they relax and start looking at the toys, just head straight for the mid thoracic and start palp, move up and down the spine with your palping hand
7. Start to engage them a little now, you have their attention – it’s not threatening now because you have relaxed them
8. Adjust today using activator or NIP or other soft techniques. If you can do cranial’s great, if not don’t worry!
Make it fun, count, sing and talk to mum as you go.
This way you will start to be able to do more, have fun and relax the child. Soon you won’t be dealing with as many tears. I have heard back from this chiropractor and she was really happy to report things are improving with this child!
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Until next week, I’m Dr Jacey Pryjma from Well Kids with the Advice Chiropractors Need When Working With Kids’ See you then.