I don't think I've ever met anyone who likes getting needles, whether child or adult. It's not fun, but thankfully it is over quickly. For kids, the injections that they recieve are vaccines to protect them against otherwise harmful germs, so even though it's never pleasant taking your kids to get their jabs, it's a necessary evil for those choosing the vaccination route.
Image: Droxiang - Wikimedia Commons
Here are some tips if you have a vaccination appointment coming up soon:
1) For babies, there's not much you can say to prepare them for the needles that are coming there way, but bringing something in to distract them is a good idea. A favourite toy, some bubbles, or some colourful pictures might distract them whilst the needles go in. That said, the doctor will likely ask you to restrain your child, so you might need to call on a family member or friend to assist you in the art of distraction. Often singing a lullaby will keep them calm. Distraction continues to work as kids get older too, although they'll likely cotton on to what is happening more so than younger kids.
2) TV time. For older kids, letting them watch something on your tablet, or phone whilst the jabs are happening can prove a handy distraction technique. Load up your device with your kids' favourite cartoon and whilst this won't take the pain away, it will stop them from concentrating too much on needle time.
3) Stay calm. It's not nice seeing your child in pain, but the sting from a needle doesn't last long, so parents need to try and stay calm during the process. If you are crying or getting overly stressed, the child will pick up on this. If you are scared of needles yourself, or you know that you will get distressed taking your child, see if you can ask a friend or family member to take your child.
4) For babies who get distressed following the injection, it can be calming to offer them their normal choice of comforter - e.g. dummy or blanket. Or if you're breastfeeding, this is a perfect time to offer them a quick feed. The moment they start to comfort, they'll forget about the jabs.
5) Don't make the injections a surprise. Whilst it is true that kids love surprises, this is one procedure that will not feature highly in their list of things they'd like to be surprised about. Instead, let them know the day before or the morning of the injection, that today/tomorrow they will be having their injection with Dr Jones. The subject shouldn't be up for debate so speak with authority that the injection WILL be happening. However, if you have an older or curious child, you should be open to answer their questions on why they are having an injection and what it's for. Explain that the needle will sting a little bit, but after 5 seconds the pain will be gone. You can even do a count down with them. A nice surprise for after injection time could be a treat for them; perhaps a little sweet treat, or a small toy or a trip to the park.
Do you have any other tips to share for getting through injection time more smoothly?