If your child will require immunizations or a booster shot at an annual check-up or prior to beginning school for the year, the best approach is typically one of honesty. Too often, parents don't tell children about a need for a shot, leaving the nurse or doctor to be the "bad guy." This approach may work for very young children, but could ultimately cause children to distrust doctors...which will in the end create problems stretching into adulthood.
How To Tell A Child She Is Getting A Shot?
The best course of action is to avoid any over-reaction, and instead simply lay out the facts in a straightforward, clear and simple way. Avoid any drama, and don't let kids turn it into a hysterical, whining (and controlling) experience. Kids really DO want to know why immunizations are required, and school-aged children will benefit from learning about childhood illnesses and what vaccines can do to help them lead a healthy life.
When Should I Tell My Child This News?
Don't give a child so much time that he will dwell and mope iver the news. A day's notice is typically fine. A parent could say something like this: "Trent, tomorrow is the day that we will visit your doctor for your check-up. Dr. Morris will check how tall you are, how much you weigh, your eyes and ears, ask you questions about how you eat, and will also give you a shot for ____________. All kids going into kindergarten will be having this shot, which will keep you healthy." Older kids may want to know where they will get their shot, if it will hurt, and may even try to talk you out of it.
After The Shot...What Next?
Don't make a big deal out of getting a shot. Some kids may cry and become almost melodramatic; others will be fine once a band-aid is applied. It's okay if you tell your child you'll take him to the park or for a special treat afterward, once he stops crying. Give him a hug and kiss, offer reassurance, and stick with the routine.
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