The most important chiropractic visit for a child is his or her first adjustment. If the child becomes apprehensive or frightened, you may never see that child or family again, losing the opportunity to correct his or her subluxation and creating a lot of wasted time and frustration for you and the family. If the visit goes well, you will set up your new patient for a lifetime of smiles and adjustments. Follow these tips to accomplish just that:
#7 Before a child’s first adjustment, allow him the opportunity to witness other children getting adjusted. Let him see the other children in your office having fun, fighting over who goes first, and leaving with balloons and stickers. Children mimic other children’s pleasurable experiences. This is incredibly important. If you don’t currently see many kids, be sure to schedule the new patient’s first adjustment for a time when you know there will be other children getting adjusted.
#6 Have the child bring a favorite teddy bear or doll to his or her first adjustment. Let your new patient help you adjust the teddy bear or doll, and then have the teddy bear or doll help you adjust the child. It’s a good idea to have extra dolls and teddy bears in your office in case the child forgets to bring one.
#5 Display pictures in your office of beloved children’s characters, celebrities, and sports stars getting adjusted. Kids connect with their heroes! The next time you’re at a theme park like Walt Disney World, Nickelodeon, or Sesame Place, take pictures with popular children’s characters. Then print them out, frame them, and hang them on the walls of your office. Your pediatric patients will love seeing you standing next to Donald Duck or “adjusting” Mickey Mouse and think you’re “cool.”
#4 If your new patient has a parent already under your care, have him or her help you adjust the parent. For example, let the child help you perform a leg check and palpate the spine, and place the child’s hands next to yours when you adjust the parent. This will help the child understand what an adjustment is and how it’s performed, and to look forward to his or her first adjustment!
#3 Ask your new patient, “What’s your favorite sport?” or “Who’s your favorite sports star, superhero, or cartoon character?” Then identify with that person or character. Let the child know that with chiropractic adjustments, he or she will be able to jump higher, run faster, and kick farther! Tell him that he’s going to receive the same adjustment that baseball star Derek Jeter gets, or basketball star LeBron James, or soccer stars like Messi or Ronaldo. If it’s a younger child, you can say how Batman and Superman stay in peak health with their adjustments. When it’s a little girl, use Princess Jasmine or Cinderella for an example. Kids love to identify with their heroes!
To really make an impression, before you adjust new pediatric patients, ask “How high can you jump?” and let them show you. After the adjustment, have them jump again and see how much higher they go—proof that adjustments will supercharge their bodies!
#2 Have the infant or toddler new patient lie down on top of his or her parent, who is lying face up on the adjusting table. This is especially helpful for the squirmy or apprehensive toddler and can provide a good beginning, which you can transition from when the child feels more comfortable. Be sure everyone applauds and congratulates the child after the adjustment, and reward your new patient with stickers and balloons.
#1 If your manual or instrument adjustment produces a noise, it’s crucial that you explain to the parent and child what the noise (audible release) heard during the adjustment is ahead of time, so that they aren’t surprised by it. Let new pediatric patients know that it’s not their bones they are hearing, but simply air that built up in the joint escaping, like the pop you hear when you open a jar. Describe the pop or noise as “popcorn” and help your patients think it’s cool and fun. You can also play the “popcorn game”—ask your new patients if they like popcorn and if they had it for lunch today—because you can hear it! Get them excited about it.
Remember, your goal is to develop trust so the child will want to come back for his or her next visit. You want children to arrive for each adjustment with eager faces and happy smiles that show they want to be the best that they can be. Then turn the power on!
We hoped that you found this weeks Top 7 list valuable. We are committed to your practice success, so if there is anything we can do to help please let us know. If you are ready to grow your practice to the next level join us at the next Chiropractic Pediatric Fantasy Camp.
Make your teddy bears adjustable by making a small slit in the seam and inserting a few inches of measuring tape along the spine, then sew closed. Every time the child pushes on the back of the bear, the measuring tape will “click,” enabling them to make an “adjustment.”