Vaccination anxiety in children
As parents themselves, our Plano pediatricians know that vaccinations are almost everybody’s least favorite part of a doctor’s visit. But the momentary pain of a shot is worth it. Vaccinations prevent your child and those around them from getting dangerous diseases. Learn how to manage vaccination anxiety in children
Coping with vaccination anxiety in children
Whether your child is mildly distressed or throwing a wild tantrum before a shot, here are some of the things our Plano pediatricians recommend to help manage vaccination anxiety in children.
- Give (late) notice. If you know that your child struggles with vaccination anxiety, let them know the day of the appointment that they’ll be receiving a shot. If your child asks about it earlier, be honest, but don’t make a big deal about the shot. If you don’t know whether your child will receive a shot, say so. Never lie about whether your child will receive a shot—that will only make it worse next time!
- Teach and model anxiety management. Teach your child to take a deep breath through the nose, and exhale through the mouth. Repeating this several times can reduce anxiety. Do this exercise with your child as he or she receives a shot.
- Offer support. Hugging your child, remaining calm and offering occasional reassurance can make the experience much more comfortable. Children can pick up on their parents’ anxiety, so make sure that you are practicing good anxiety management practices, too.
There are also ways to manage your child’s pain. Talk to your doctor about applying cream to ease the pain before your child’s shot or giving medication for lingering aches afterward. Remember that distraction with a reward, a favorite stuffed animal or the promise of a fun activity after the shot can also reduce your child’s discomfort.
Set an example
One of the most powerful ways our Plano pediatricians believe parents can defuse vaccination anxiety in children is by demonstrating good anxiety management when they receive their own vaccinations. Talk to your child about your vaccine schedule and stick to it. You don’t need to grin through the pain, but you can show your child how to manage it with deep breathing and other anxiety-reducing exercises. Teaching your child how to manage anxiety by example can help them keep their own fears in perspective.
To learn more about our services, or to schedule your child’s next vaccination, contact our office.