8 Ways to Help Your Child Through Immunizations
With the onset of the flu season and a COVID-19 immunization on the horizon, we wanted to help prepare you and your child for their visits to the doctor for immunizations.
Parents can take an active role in changing their child’s attitude regarding vaccines. What a parent says, and does before, during and after directly affects how their child handles their trips to the pediatrician.
The following are steps parents can take to reduce the anxiety and fear children may experience while getting their immunizations.
- Smile – Young children take cues from their parents. If you grimace or tense up, your child may become anxious too. Be calm.
- Be Honest – Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you promise “no shots” to get your child in the door of the clinic, you are jeopardizing your child’s trust in you. Tell them they may feel a little prick that may sting. Avoid the words “shot” or “hurt.” Remind children that vaccines can help keep them healthy.
- Acknowledgment – Acknowledge your child’s fear of needles, but help them move on to other thoughts. Listen to their concerns, restate them in a neutral way and then help them to move forward.
- Provide Comfort – Ensure your child has a good nap 2 to 4 hours before the immunization is given and feed your child one to two hours beforehand. Give your young child a pacifier, breastfeed and/or wrap your infant snugly in a blanket while holding, talking softly and soothing them.
- Distract – Distract your child with favorite toys, books, soothing conversation, singing songs or even a video game if they are older. Songs with hand and body motions like “Baby Shark” or “I’m a Little Tea Pot” are perfect.
- No Punishment – Don’t threaten punishment or offer bribes to your children.
- Relaxation – Teach your child relaxation techniques to help them cope during times of anxiety. One technique is to focus on their breathing. Have your child feel how their body expands when they inhale, then how the body relaxes when they exhale.
- Pain Relief – Ask your doctor if there is a numbing cream or spray that can be applied topically to alleviate pain at the injection site.