Many kids, and even some adults, aren’t fans of getting shots. They can be uncomfortable and the anxiety leading up to having one administered can only intensify any discomfort into sheer terror. Unfortunately, if kids don’t understand why these vaccines are necessary, they will only think of the negatives when having them done at the doctor’s office. Thankfully, The Immunization Partnership has helped develop ways to ease children’s fears of vaccinations.
Explain Vaccines with Kid-Friendly Materials
Most kids, especially those who are younger, do not fully understand why they need vaccines. This can play into their fears of getting a shot because all they really know is the small pinch or pain they feel when they get a vaccination. Utilizing informative entertainment, like fun videos, helps teach children about the importance of vaccines in exciting ways, allowing them to think of the shots in new, healthy ways.
Don’t Stress Them Out Ahead of Time
Honesty is important, but if your child doesn’t ask whether a shot is included in his upcoming wellness check-up, don’t tell him. Knowing a vaccine is coming will only make him stress out more about visiting the doctor’s office when it gets closer. If your child does ask, don’t lie. If you aren’t sure, just say you aren’t sure, but if you do know, be open and honest and allow him to communicate his fears.
Honesty is Key
If your child has found out he’s receiving a shot at his next visit, be honest in letting him know that, yes, it may be a bit uncomfortable, but it’s over quickly, and be sure to reinforce why the vaccine is important. Go back to the informative videos and make sure he understands it is not a punishment, but a way to ensure he remains strong and is protected against diseases. In a way, it’s like gaining a super power!
Bring Some Distractions
Being focused on the pain or discomfort, and even the visual of the shot itself will only make it worse. Instead, get their attention elsewhere by keeping eye contact and talking or singing, or bring along their favorite toy. Older kids can close their eyes and use their imaginations to help take them to a more “fun” place, like a party or even playing a game. If you’re okay with some screen time, let them watch their favorite video or cartoon on your phone or tablet to keep their mind occupied.
As parents, watching your child get a shot can be difficult, particularly when she’s an infant or toddler. We want to do everything we can to not see them cry, but for most little ones, that’s the natural response to a vaccine. However, it’s important to keep yourself calm because children respond to our reactions, even as infants. Your role is just as important as the doctor or nurse administering the shot – keep her distracted and keep a smiling face when it’s all over. Remember, you’re doing the right thing to keep your child safe and protected, and those tears will be brief.
Follow the Proper Vaccination Schedule
While getting numerous shots in one appointment may seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve informed your child of this prior to the visit, know that following the CDC’s recommended vaccination schedule is important. Research has determined that these particular recommendations provide the best protection for children, and, no matter how many shots are given at one time, children will still have the same anxiety, so trying to downplay it won’t make much of a difference.
Vaccinations are important for all children as it not only protects them, but those around them, as well. The pain from shots is brief, and the discomfort is really a minor concern compared to what some of these diseases are capable of. With your help, your child will be able to cope better with this vaccination anxiety as she ages, and will learn why these shots are so important.
If you have questions or concerns about getting your child vaccinated, contact us today.