Almost every child has at least some fear of needles. While it may be tempting to put off shots so that your child stays happy, you could do that at the cost of your child’s health. It is important for long-term well-being that your child stays up-to-date on the vaccination schedule, as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here are a few ways to get through this process with the fewest tears.
It can be tempting to lie to your child before the appointment so that you do not have to be the one to tell him that he will be receiving shots. However, this method only leads to distrust over time. Be honest about what is going to happen and about what you can do to make the process better.
Bring a Distraction
Very young children respond very well to such distractions as stuffed animals, stickers and suckers during their shots. However, even an older child may like to page through a book or watch a short video to take his mind off the experience.
Give a Comforting Touch
If possible, keep your child in your lap for the shots. You can even be the one to help hold your child’s leg or arm in place while giving a warm hug.
Above all, remember that your child will mirror the emotion that he feels coming from you. If he feels that you are nervous about the situation, he will be too. However, if he recognizes that you do not see this as a big deal, he will not feel as concerned.
While shots are never going to be something that your child looks forward to, you can take much of the fear out of the situation with these calming tactics. Your child ultimately wants to know that he will be safe no matter what happens and that you will be there for him. In addition, he may appreciate getting to do something special with you following his shots, such as going out for an ice cream cone or having a game night.