5 Tips to Help Your Child Overcome a Fear of Shots

For many kids, a trip to the doctor’s office is no fun. Getting checked out by someone unfamiliar in a white lab coat without knowing what’s coming next can be unsettling. Add a scary shot into the mix and you might have a crying fest or tantrum on your hands.

But parents, take heart there are ways to help them so that getting a shot is a lot less traumatic.

  1. Give it to them straight. It’s natural to not want to tell your child that something painful is coming, but it can help if they’re aware of what’s to come. Explain the importance of receiving vaccinations and focus on how the pain is temporary and is to keep them healthy. This can actually help grow and strengthen the trust between you and your child. That said, don’t start talking about the visit way in advance—that will just cause them to be preoccupied with the looming appointment.
  2. Help lessen the pain. Numbing the skin can help reduce a child’s pain when receiving a shot. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about topical skin creams that may help. You can also try applying a piece of ice to the skin immediately before the shot.
  3. Be their support. It may help to let your little one sit in your lap. You can also sit by their side and hold their hand while they are receiving their shot. Being close to you can ease their anxiety and show that you are there with them the entire way. Also, building a relationship with your primary care physician and pediatrician helps build trust with your child and reduces fear.
  4. Keep them distracted. Nothing reduces pain like a good laugh. A funny joke, favorite toy or silly puppet can help younger children get through their vaccination. Try keeping older children busy by watching their favorite show on your phone or playing their favorite song.
  5. Reward their courage. To reward your child for being brave, give them a healthy treat afterwards. One to try: these fun red, white and blueberry frozen pops. You can also skip the dessert and treat them to a fun outing at a place of their choosing.

Be sure to talk to your child before, during and after the appointment. Explaining what they can expect, the reason and celebrating them after can empower them for next time.

Photo Credit: Apotek Hjartat

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  1. As a kid who had a horrible fear of shots, I can say that keeping me distracted was the best way for my mom to get me to sit still. It also felt like it hurt noticeably less when I wasn’t paying attention. Thanks for sharing the tips!

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