Six Simple Ways to Prepare Your Child

Medical tests can be scary for children (and adults too), but you can help calm your child. First calm yourself, and then prepare him/her with this six-point plan.

  1. Set Realistic Expectations

    Explain what the test involves and who will be doing it. Prepare your child for the “ouch.” Instead of promising it won’t hurt, say that it will be over quickly. Afterward, offer praise—and comfort, if necessary. We also offer a free “My Trip to Quest Diagnostics”

coloring book (available in English and in Spanish) full of information to prepare your child, along with activities to engage him/her when you’re at the testing center.

  1. Anticipate and Inform

    Schedule the test at a time when your child is unlikely to be tired or hungry. Ask ahead of time whether the test involves a finger prick or a blood draw—and then share that information with your child.
  2. Stage a Dress Rehearsal

    Practice at home beforehand. Before a blood draw you could say, "Show me how you stay still. Now show me how you wiggle. Now be still again." “Blowing the feeling away” by counting to three and then exhaling also helps a child feel in control of his/her body—and helps keep veins full and loose, making it easier to draw blood.
  3. Offer a Distraction

    During a blood draw, help get your youngster’s mind off the procedure by occupying him/her with a book, a special toy, the Quest Diagnostics coloring book (available in English and in Spanish) or by singing a favorite song.
  4. Be There with Your Child—or Not

    Stay with your child during a blood draw. On the other hand, providing a urine specimen with a parent in the room may seem an invasion of privacy. Depending upon age and whether you’ve comfortably guided him/her through the process, an older child may prefer to be alone.
  5. Drink Up—and Turn on the Tap

    Providing a urine sample is definitely easier with a full bladder. Encourage your child to have a beverage before the office visit. The sound of running water can also help him/her urinate. Drinking water before a blood draw will also help make that process easier.