Needles and doctors and pain, oh my! Such is the fear many children go through when it’s time to get their flu shot or some other important vaccination. How about you? Are you uneasy when it’s time to get a shot? If so, pay close attention to 6 tips to help children overcome their fear of shots, and it might help you too.
Don’t Sugar Coat, But Be Positive
“Yes, it’s going to pinch for about 3 seconds. Count to three, and that’s how long it “might” hurt a little. Let’s count together now.”
This type of preparation not only lets your child know there will be a pinch, but that it won’t last very long. You’re not making up a story that it won’t hurt at all. Instead, you not only give them the facts, but define the time which you can then count out in the doctor’s office together. This kind of honest practice can do wonders when the time comes.
Explain The Whys
Depending on your child’s age, you can age appropriately explain why we get shots and why we all need them.
We need them:
- To prevent us from getting sick and missing school and our friends.
- To keep us safe from certain illnesses that can make us feel terrible.
- To make sure we don’t make other people sick.
So, ultimately, getting a shot is a good thing that will keep us safe from getting sick as well as everybody else. Getting a shot helps everybody.
Be The First One
Take your child with you when you get your flu shot this year. Remind them about the 3 second pinch and you can even count together as you get pinched. Show them there is nothing to fear and keep a smile on your face throughout. Then Meridian Pediatrics can explain how that shot will protect you and the whole family.
Pick A Post-Shot Outing
Give your little one a choice of doing a fun activity after their doctor’s visit. Maybe it will be going out for ice cream or a trip to the zoo. This gives them something to look forward to afterward.
You could even begin the conversation about where they will be going as the doctor is preparing. Getting them talking about their favorite animal or what flavor ice cream they will choose distracts them momentarily from their anxiety.
The shot might be over before they realize they got it.
Pile On The Compliments
Great job! We are so proud of you! These kinds of affirmations can go a long way after your child has gotten his shot. Maybe the next time will be easier.
Keep Your Cool
Even if all these suggestions work, your child may still be terrified of getting a shot. If they do get upset or throw a tantrum, don’t overreact and become angry or frustrated as that will only make your child more upset.
Step back and let Meridian Pediatrics and staff handle your child. They have dealt with all kinds of frightened children and will know what to do.