Shots are never fun – for the child or the adult. The fear associated with the shot can cause children to not want to go to the pediatrician. But because shots provide the protection that each child needs, parents can help prepare their kids for the big moment.
Here are a few tips that help ensure a successful visit.
- Tell your child in advance
Surprises can be fun but not when it comes to shots. According to Suburban Pediatrics Clinical Coordinator Suzzy Jasper, parents should tell their child in advance about the shot.
“It’s important to be honest with your child about the vaccine,” says Jasper. “Just trying to surprise them at the end of an appointment usually puts the kids over the edge and scares them.”
- Don’t make it “a big deal”
Although immunizations may be stressful for you as a parent, try to stay calm during the appointment. When talking to your child, use a soft tone and be honest. “Yes, a shot may hurt but it’s going to be so quick and the nurses know exactly what they’re doing.”
“Kids are very bright and perceptive,” says Jasper. “If the parents tell the kids about the vaccines and make a big deal of it, the child will be more anxious. But if the parents act like it’s no big deal, the child will accept it a lot easier.”
For younger children, Suburban Pediatrics has parents hug them to ensure they don’t move or hurt themselves. Having your child blow out or cough during the shot can also help decrease pain. Usually the anticipation of the shot is worse than the actual injection. But holding your child’s hand or talking to them about your plans for the day can help reduce their anxiety.
- Let your child have control
At the age of 11, your child can start picking which arm he or she would like to have the shot. Let your child have control of this situation. You can also suggest that they count for when they receive the injection.
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