Does your child like helping people? Is her nose constantly in books about the human body? You might just have a doctor on your hands. So how do you get your kid to grow up to be a doctor? It’s important not to force a profession on your child. He should grow up to be what is in his own heart and mind. However, if your child has this desire, you can gently encourage (not push) his interest. Forcing or pushing a child too hard can lead to the opposite result. One of my daughters has expressed interest in being a doctor since she was four years old. That was seven years ago and her interest has not let up. In fact, it’s grown much stronger. Here are some of the things I have done to keep her interest going and let her know I support her.
Buy medical books and read them often. This is extremely important. If your child id serious about being a doctor, medical-related books at his level of understanding will be helpful. Because this is an interest your child already has, it probably won’t feel like studying. It’s important not to require your child to read these books. Just buy them often. If she’s interested, she’ll read them.
Take hospital tours. For a kid who wants to be a doctor, a hospital is an interesting place. Take a tour around local hospitals. You can walk around authorized areas alone. However, staff may take the child around other areas if you ask. This familiarizes your child with the environment he may one day be working in. If he’s interested, this is likely to pique his interest even more. Whenever your child has doctor appointments, let the doctors and nurses explain what the tools and instruments are used for and why.
Let your child play the part. Buy your child some scrubs and a medical kit and let her role play. Many children’s hospitals sell child-size scrubs in the gift shop. You can also find them near Halloween in the costume section of many retailers. If your child is older and trusted, you can buy a more authentic medical kit, that comes with real items, rather than plastic non-working ones. This way she can see how they really work. Just be sure she understands the proper care and use of them and is responsible enough to handle that. Use your own best judgment at which items your child should and should not be using.
Buy medical games and use them often. Board games, like Operation , are a great way to introduce your child to the medical profession. There are also many computer games that are great for this. From simulated emergency rooms, to being an EMT, exploring the human body, and more, your child can learn all about being a doctor through game play.
Brag to your friends in your child’s presence. This lets your child know you support him and are proud of him. Let your friends, family members, and colleagues know about your child’s dream and be sure to do it when he is nearby. You can say things like “Did you know Jimmy is going to be a doctor? You should see how excited he gets about medical books. I’m so proud of him. He’s going to make a great doctor.”
Talk about your child’s dreams often. Like bragging to your friends, talking about your child’s dreams directly with him makes him feel worthy. Let him know you are proud of him and will support his dream. Let him tell you his plans. You can tell him what he’ll need to do to make it happen. But give him plenty of talk time as well. Let him tell you how he plans to accomplish everything. It doesn’t matter whether you think his way is right. When he is talking about his plans, just let him talk. There is always plenty of other time for you to give him hints along the way.
Have your child write stories and draw pictures about being a doctor. This helps your child set the stage in his mind. It also gives you insight into his goals and dreams. Let him write and draw anything he wants to about being a doctor. He may already do this on his own. But from time to time, you can ask him to write you a story or draw you a picture about himself as a doctor.
Let your child watch level-appropriate medical procedures. Some television channels air medical procedures. You also may allow your child to accompany you at the hospital during certain procedures. For instance, my daughter, who is interested in being either an ob/gyn or pediatrician, watched one of her younger siblings being born. Before that, she had read plenty of books on the process, as well as watched many birthing shows. She was very interested I the process. My ob/gyn doctor knew this and explained everything to her, both at the birth and previously during all my OB visits.
Make your child a medical-related study area. For a child interested in becoming a doctor, a medical area in her room or playroom is like most kids would react to a room filled with candy. Make her a special area with books, plastic models, scrubs, a doctor kit, and more. Remember not to force her to play with the items or read the books. If she’s interested and it’s there, she will use it.
Enroll your child in fun classes related to being a doctor. This is another great way to support your child’s interest in becoming a doctor. Check museums, hospitals, junior colleges, summer classes, and more. There are likely many more places for kids to take medical-related classes than you think. Be sure to choose programs that are going to be fun and interesting, rather than those that may be too intensive for your child. Again, pressure to perform is a bad thing. But educational enhancement is a good thing, provided your child is having fun in the process.
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