Getting Over the Fear of Shots

Preparing a child for getting stuck with a needle isn’t an easy feat.
I’m currently going through this, as my son will be having vaccinations soon.
I was talking to the little guy’s mother, over the phone, and she mentioned him getting shots.
Well, he was near the phone, and immediately went into panic mode.
After he did this, I realized I needed to buffer the situation.

To dampen his deadly fear, I tried a few impromptu tactics over the phone.
Then I made it my agenda to try to help him cope with his fear before he had to endure the visit to his doctor.
Here are a few points I decided to share with him:

  • First, I told him to calm down, and take a deep breath. I told him he was making it worse for himself, by not being calm. I compared what it was like to freak-out about the shots, rather than to be calm about it all. I brought up some previous experiences, where he made the situation much more difficult than needed.

The examples I brought up were some that will be different for each parent, but shouldn’t be a problem to implement in the same way.

  • Ex: “Remember when you got your hair cut and you squirmed and made it a lot worse than when you were still?
    And when you didn’t want me to wash your face in the bath, so you ended up getting soap in your eye? And, you know how it’s easier and quicker to brush your teeth when you’re not moving all around?
    Yea? Well, it’s the same way with shots. You can squirm and scream and cry but it’s only gonna make it worse, man.”

Then, I affirmed the necessity of the shots, by calmly explaining to him:

  • “Look, you are going to get these shots bud. It’s medicine, to make you stay healthy and strong.
    And you can cry and squirm all you want but, even if I have to hold you down, you’ve still GOT to get these shots.
    I won’t let you not get them. So, it’s up to you, whether or not you squirm and make it more difficult.”

I also added a scare tactic into the mix:

  • “The more you squirm, the harder it is for the nurse to give you a good shot. It may mean she’ll have to give you more shots because she may miss your veins – where the medicine needs to go.
    Look, you can cry all you want but squirming and moving all around will make it take longer, and will make it hurt more, man.”

When I saw him last weekend, I also brought it up again when he came over with a bruised head.

  • I asked him if it hurt when he fell and bumped his head. He said yes.
    I asked him if he cried when he got hurt. He said yes.
    Then, I mentioned, “and you’re all better now, right? (He nodded.) See, pain goes away. You get hurt, then you don’t hurt any more.”
    I told him that he’s my champ for having he courage to get back up, and that the shot won’t be nearly as painful as falling. I gave him a slight pinch to show him how the shots feel.

After all of this, he seems to be coping more easily, when shots are mentioned. I’m skeptical, however, if any of it will change the outcome..
Let me know if you have any other tactics you try on you little one. We all can use some new ideas.

For a list of vaccinations to “look forward” to, click here .


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