A trip to the doctor’s for vaccinations is not only a nightmare for your baby or toddler, parents too can feel stressed when watching their little ones act up in the presence of a needle. Even with the ‘3 in 1’ or ‘5 in 1’ vaccination doses, your child would have accumulated at least 10 jabs by the time they reach preschool. We bet you’d want to make these vaccination trips a breeze, so here are five tips for you.
Acknowledge Their Fear
We all want our feelings to be acknowledged, and our children are no different. Getting their vaccinations is one of the most scary times in their young life, so don’t brush off their fears and anxieties or tell them not to cry. Being angry and yelling at them to stop crying will also not help the situation.
Less Is More
Revealing too much before the visit will make them anxious, so it’s best to not give your child too many details prior to the day of the vaccination. “If you tell kids too much too soon, you will ruin their entire week and they will worry up until the day of the appointment,” explains Ari Brown, M.D., a parents advisor and author of the Baby 411 series.
Speak The Truth
You know how we can tell if someone is lying to us? Well, it turns out that our little ones can tell it too! As such, never lie to them about the vaccination as their cognitive abilities will pick up on it and give you away. Don’t tell them that the jab wouldn’t hurt as they will learn not to trust you.
Comfort With Love
If your child is crying, soothe them by smiling at them and assure them that they’re okay by squeezing their hand or by singing their favourite tune to help them relax. You can also bring along their favourite toy to help take their attention away from the needle. A comforting presence is necessary when your child is anxious.
It is only natural that you will feel uncomfortable when watching your baby cry or go hysterical in the doctor’s office, but the last thing you’d want to do is ‘rescue’ your child. Let the doctor and nurses do their job, all you have to do is to just be present in the room and keep eye contact with your child. Hold and comfort them once it is all over. Some doctors will also give your child a sweet after the jab to end the session on a good note.
Originally published in “Fear No Jabs, Baby!”, in Singapore’s Child March 2016.