Preparing your child for vaccination

Vaccination can be a daunting experience for most children. If the experience with vaccination is not tackled properly, the fear of vaccination will only escalate with time. So much so that some parents have resorted to lying just to get their children to step into the clinic! Vaccination does not need to be nerve-wracking. Here are some tips on how to prepare your child before and during vaccination.

Preparation before vaccination

1. In a bigger child, it is important to talk to them about what vaccine they are about to receive and why it is important. Always emphasize that vaccine will protect them from harmful diseases.

2. Getting a shot can be painful or stinging but tell your child that the pain is just for a short while. Avoid telling scary stories or making threats about shots.

3. Getting a reward after vaccination can be a positive motivation for children. The reward does not have to be extravagant. It can be as simple as an extra 30 minutes of game time or an ice-cream treat! Praising them after their vaccination works as well!

Soothing children during vaccination

For babies and younger children

1. Distract and comfort by cuddling, singing or talking softly. Smile and make eye contact with your child to give him or her reassurance.

2. Comfort your child with his or her favorite toy, book or familiar smelling blanket.

3. After the shots, hold and cuddle your child. A soothing voice combined with praises and hugs will reassure the child. Babies can be soothed through swaddling, skin-to-skin contact, and breastfeeding.

For older children or adolescents

1. Create distractions by telling or reading stories.

2. Support your child if he or she cries. Never scold a child for not being “brave”.

3. Take deep breaths with your child to help “blow out” the pain.

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“There is no such thing as a perfect parent. So just be a real one.” – Sue Atkins