11 Keys to Reassuring Your Child During an Injection
Between pandemic news, Covid-19 vaccines, and other shots, children today are much more aware of certain health issues than ever before. But while this has its benefits, it also brings with it the management of complex emotions, such as fear, anxiety, and uncertainty.
One of the worries that’s on children’s minds is related to injections: What will the shot be like? Will I feel pain? What if it hurts for several days? These and other concerns can appear frequently and that’s why today, we’re going to give you some tips to reassure your child during an injection.
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How to reassure your child during an injection?
The purpose of these recommendations is to provide you with the necessary tools to reassure your children, give them emotional security, and leave them with one more important message: The importance of self-care and responsibility for their own health and that of others.
That said, take note of the following keys to reassure your child during an injection:
- Show calm, serenity, and confidence. Emotions are contagious and transmitted from parents to their children. If you appear anxious and impatient, your child will pick up on it and possibly begin to feel the same way.
- Explain what’s going to happen and why it’s important to get that injection. A very important strategy is anticipation, and for this, you should make the scenario as realistic as possible to avoid surprises. Under no circumstances should you lie to your child or downplay the importance of the event.
- Take the opportunity to work on their emotions and ask them what they’re afraid of, how they feel, and if there’s anything that worries them. This way, you’ll be able to better understand your child’s fears and help them better. Many times, children recreate images in their heads from what they see on television or from the experience of a classmate.
- You can also ask them what things they think would help them feel better. Sometimes holding your child’s hand or encouraging skin-to-skin contact is enough. Let your child tell you what they need.
- Avoid negative comments such as “it won’t hurt” or “you’re too old to cry”. This invalidates their way of feeling and experiencing what’s happening to them. In addition, it’s likely to lead them to keep their emotions bottled up and not give you room to help them. You should know that, depending on their age, there are certain fears that are to be expected and you should approach them with a lot of patience.
- Review the way you set limits at home. Many times, they’re used under threats such as “if you misbehave, I’m going to take you to get a shot”. These situations create fear and nervousness in children and only increase the stress of the situation.
- If possible, talk to the medical or nursing staff first. Ask for their cooperation and explain what your child is afraid of. Many aspects of the environment are crucial to your child’s calm and it’s worth trying to limit them. At the same time, ask about strategies to reduce pain, such as allowing your baby or toddler to breastfeed while the injection is being given.
- Promote games that help work on fantasies and fears related to the situation. For example, try to have your little one play doctor with their dolls and allow them to manage their emotions and experiences through this activity.
- Bring their favorite toy or attachment object to give them security or to distract them. Also, try a song or any other stimulus that allows them to shift the focus of attention during that distressing moment.
- Ask your child how they feel after receiving the injection. If they’re fine, you can take them out for ice cream or a walk. This way, they won’t be left with the bitter experience of what they just went through and will feel more encouraged.
- Reinforce their positive behavior. Let them know that they’re very brave for getting an injection and congratulate them on their good behavior and cooperation.
Promote emotional management from childhood
Accompanying children in managing their emotions is key to their present and future well-being. It’s teaching them that it’s okay to feel this or that way and that they can do something to improve the discomfort. It’s giving them the resources to face their fears and not remain passive or paralyzed in the face of them.
In the early stages of life, fears arise from issues that may seem insignificant to many adults. However, it’s crucial not to discredit or ignore their voice and to support them in always making themselves heard.