Clinical Tip: A vanishing act that builds rapport

December 1, 2006

To develop rapport with young children new to my practice, I completely ignore the child at first while I discuss the medical history with the parents. Once the child is comfortable with me, I tell her (him) that I have a neat toy to show her-a retractible tape measure, the kind with a red button, which I carry in my pocket. I pull out a length of tape, then count to three and push the button to make the tape "disappear." To increase the child's interest, I pull out the same length of tape a second time, pause to see if it disappears, then pull some more so that the exposed tape is much longer than the first time. I count to three again and push the button to make the tape disappear. Now that the child is thoroughly intrigued, I hand her the tape measure to let her figure it out.

To develop rapport with young children new to my practice, I completely ignore the child at first while I discuss the medical history with the parents. Once the child is comfortable with me, I tell her (him) that I have a neat toy to show her-a retractible tape measure, the kind with a red button, which I carry in my pocket. I pull out a length of tape, then count to three and push the button to make the tape "disappear." To increase the child's interest, I pull out the same length of tape a second time, pause to see if it disappears, then pull some more so that the exposed tape is much longer than the first time. I count to three again and push the button to make the tape disappear. Now that the child is thoroughly intrigued, I hand her the tape measure to let her figure it out.

LeTrinh Hoang, DOArcadia, Calif.