Shots are the biggest fear children have when visiting the doctor’s office. While tears and meltdowns are often part of the process, there are a few techniques that can help comfort your child and keep them calm before and after the shot.
All in the Attitude Children can sense a parent’s emotion, even at a young age. Remain calm and refrain from telling your child that things will be fine. That signifies that there is a problem.
Don’t Fib Lying to your children and telling them that the shot won’t hurt will only make future visits worse. Be honest when talking about shots and explain that the pain will only be temporary and last for just a few moments. Reassure your child that you will be with them the entire time.
Explain the Purpose Using age appropriate language, explain to your children that shots keep them healthy and are a regular part of growing up. Emphasize that like brushing their teeth and eating vegetables, shots keep them strong.
Practice Makes Perfect Demonstrating what will happen at the doctor’s office can help prepare children and ease their fears. Use your child’s favorite doll or teddy bear to show what the process will be like. Consider bringing the toy with you to help comfort them during the appointment.
Bring Distractions Books, toys, music, videos and games can all distract children and help calm fears of shots. Additionally, these items create a sense of normalcy and downplay the focus of the doctor and needle.
Give Praise Shower your children with praise and encouragement during the visit. Telling them how proud you are of them and how brave they are being can help alleviate worry and leave them with a sense of accomplishment.
Release the Reigns Doctors and nurses are trained not only to administer shots, but to handle the tears, tantrums, screams, fears and anger that often accompany them. While you are used to taking control of tearful situations, let the experienced staff take over in calming your child.
Rewards for a Job Well Done Lollipops and small treats after shots can make the tears and pain disappear. Special treats for bravery are well deserved. Bring a special snack or plan a fun outing following the appointment to reward them for a job well done.