Preparing Your School-Aged Child For Vaccinations

When it's time for your child to get a physical with your family practice or pediatrician, it may also be time for immunizations. Following the immunization schedule your doctor creates for your child can help prevent some serious childhood illnesses, but the thought of getting shots can frighten young children. Here are a few steps you can take to prepare your child for the visit.

Explain What Immunizations Do

Explaining the purpose of immunizations can go a long way toward helping your child prepare for the appointment. Use simple language and explain what each shot will prevent. Explain how getting these shots can help both your child as well as children who can't be vaccinated due to age or medical conditions. By letting your child know he or she will be helping others, you can underscore just how important getting vaccinated can be. If you have an infant in your household, you can also explain that getting vaccinated is a thing that big brothers and sisters can do for their younger siblings.

Find A Focus Spot

Getting shots can be a lot easier if your child doesn't watch what is happening. After all, even the smallest of needles can look scary. When you enter the exam room, choose a spot on the wall your child can focus on while getting the shots; this might be a poster or picture, or it can simply be a light switch. You can also have your child look directly at you while receiving the shots. If possible, have the nurse giving the shots keep the tray of alcohol swabs and needles covered until it is time so your child can't see the items before they are used.

Bring A Squeeze Buddy

A stuffed animal, doll, or another soft toy can make a great squeeze buddy for your little one. You can have your child hold onto the toy while getting vaccinated so he or she focuses on the toy and not on the shots. For slightly older children, a stress ball or squishy toy can also do the trick. Should you find yourself at the pediatrician's office without a squeeze buddy, consider rolling up your child's jacket and having him or her hug it during the appointment.

Have A Treat Ready

Being brave at the doctor's office is always worthy of a special treat. Consider paying a visit to your local dollar store in advance, and pick out a small toy or coloring book to use as a reward. Remember that even if your child cries or has a difficult time, the reward is for getting the shots. Don't withhold the treat if your little one sheds a few tears. Your pediatrician may also have stickers, lollipops, or other treats to hand out after your child gets vaccinated.

If you aren't sure whether or not your child is due for vaccines, consider calling ahead first. This will give you time to prepare your child for the appointment so getting shots won't be a surprise. To learn more, contact a doctors office like Choice Medical Group.