Fear of Needles? Here’s How to Keep your Kiddo Calm
Boo!!! This October, we are gearing up for the spookiest flu season yet. So as your little one gets ready to put on their costumes and trick or treat, make sure that getting their flu shot is your first priority. But, just like this upcoming Halloween, a trip to the pediatrician for vaccines can be a scary thing for a child. So, to make shots for kids slightly less spooky, read on for our best tricks on helping your child learn how to get over a fear of needles.
Even if your child is spooked, do your best not to be. As the guardian, your child looks to you for affirmation of safety. You are their utmost role model of how to behave and their best tell of how worried they should be. If they get scared and you show noticeable signs of stress, worry, or embarrassment, the child will pick up on it and increase their fear response. Do your absolute best to stay calm and positive even when your child is nervous or upset. Instead of mimicking their energy or reprimanding them for their behavior, do your best to distract them and the process will be over before you and your child know it!
Just as your words and energy have an impact on your child’s distress, so does your physical presence. Sit close to your child and offer a hand to hold. When the injection is about to happen, give their fingers or leg a squeeze to let them know you are right by their side. The gentle touch can not only soothe them but distract them from their fear of needles. To make the situation even more relaxing for your child, bring along a toy or stuffed animal. Their favorite object can be very effective at providing something cozy and comforting to hold on to.
Anything you can do to take your child’s mind off of the shot and on to something pleasing is a win! Tell them a story or chat about something fun coming up later in the day. Offer to take them for ice cream after their appointment so they get excited about the treat ahead. For a more immersive tactic, bring out your smartphone and watch their favorite show or a video to keep them distracted with the screen instead of focused on the shot. If they prefer, listen to an audiobook, their favorite music, or sing a song!
Time to Talk
As children get older, if they still are experiencing a fear of injections, it might be helpful to explain to them why they are getting the shot and how important it is to protect their health. When they are old enough, they will start to understand that the need for the shot far outweighs the stress of the needle. Some kids might even find the science fascinating and let it motivate them to face their fears bravely!
At Coastal Kids Pediatrics, the health and happiness of your child is our passion and purpose. We want your little one to feel comfortable in our office so they are prepared to prioritize their well-being, for all the years to come. Since flu shots for kids should be a yearly occurrence, it is imperative that your little one get used to it to avoid stress and anxiety becoming associated with visiting their pediatrician. If you have any questions about how to overcome a fear of needles, or about shots for kids, please visit us at https://coastalkids.com/.