Between annual flu shots, routine childhood immunizations, and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for kids 5 and up, your little one might soon find themselves at the doctor’s office braving a shot.
Many young children suffer from trypanophobia, a.k.a. the fear of needles, which can lead to tears, fainting, and full-blown meltdowns. Below, we offer some tips on how to help kids overcome anxiety around shots.
Plan your visit
First, you’ll need to figure out logistics. Choose a time and location for your child’s vaccinations. Consider a pediatric urgent care, such as PedsNow, that specializes in helping kids feel at ease. Pick a time of day where you and your child will feel relaxed, and you won’t need to rush, for a less stressful visit.
Prepare at home
Be upfront with your child and familiarize them with the vaccination process. Explain that during their shot, they might feel a pinch, but it will be over before they know it, and keep them from getting sick. Younger kids may benefit from practicing with a toy medical kit, or reading a children’s book about going to the doctor.
Try comforting distractions
When it’s time for their shot, a favorite stuffed animal, toy, or even a Youtube video can help your child stay calm. Small children may feel safer sitting in your lap, or holding your hand.
As a parent, your child looks to you for guidance. Seeing you stressed can ramp up their own fears. Stay calm and confident to assure your child that everything is okay. It also helps to avoid harsh words such as “shot” and “pain.” Say “pressure,” “pinch,” “poke,” and “vaccine” instead.