6 Ways to Help Children Overcome Shot Anxiety at the Doctor’s Office
The days leading up to your child’s shot appointment can bring tears, fears and sleepless nights. Majority of children are terrified of getting a flu shot, but even more scared of the COVID vaccine or shots in general. The term called “needlephobia” is linked to 1 out of 4 people, including adults who are generally terrified of immunizations. The good news is that there are several things that can be done to help children cope and ease their fears. Checkout the most common list of tried-and-true tips from child life specialists and nurses across the globe to help parents calm their children who are facing shot anxiety, immunization fears or another procedure.
Simple tips to help your child who’s scared of needles
- Be Truthful: Let your child know there’ll be a tiny pinch, but only for a second. Moreover, focus on health and remind your child that this will help protect them from getting sick.
- Plan a Reward: Let your child stop at their favorite store afterwards, get a treat they enjoy or let them buy something on Amazon.
- Bring the Distractions: For Parents; bring a favorite stuffed animal, toy, fidget spinner or book, have your child watch an engaging YouTube video or sing a song together. For Doctors; install a few Artificial Sky ceilings in your waiting areas and treatment rooms. Artificial Sky is a proven medical patient distraction aide and helps reduce muscle tension, lower blood pressure and redirect negative thoughts.
- Sit Up and Dress Comfy: According to case studies, children are more fearful when having to lie flat at a doctor’s office instead of sitting upright. Also, make sure they are wearing some comfy clothes that are snuggly and soft like these found at Target.
- Use Vibration: You can ask your doctor or nurse to apply vibration near the needle injection site prior to the shot to help minimize pain. A simple vibrating massager can help, but some products specialize in this area like Buzzy and Shot Blocker.
- Keep your Cool: Take a deep breath! Breathing deeply and slowly triggers the body to stop releasing stress hormones and starts to relax. Try your best to appear calm and keep a positive attitude. Your child will be more anxious if they sense you are as well. Try using an Apple watch to monitor your breath and help trigger the relaxation response which can be another great way to combat stress.
After the Appointment
Try and focus on everything that went well. Praise your child for their good behavior, trying their best and for getting over their fear of needles, job well done!