It has been reported that almost 8% of children have a phobia of injections and over half of children walking into our office will have mild-to-moderate fears of injections.
We recommend these basic strategies to prepare children over 2 years of age for their shots:
1. Have your child watch this 30 min video made by The Jim Henson Company called Sid, the Science Kid: Getting a Shot, You Can Do It! The video tells kids all they need to know about why shots are needed, what actually happens, how big the needles are, and it also gives them a brave song to sing.
2. The second thing to do is to teach your child about a brave body, and brave body is the opposite of scared body. Most kids who are about to get a shot insist on sitting in their mother's lap, and that can become a struggle. We recommend that you teach them about what is expected for brave body. Do this by saying, "If you act brave, you will feel more brave" And show them what a brave body looks like: shoulders back, arm in your lap and relaxed. Then you roll up your sleeve like you don't have a care in the world, and look away. Then you should prepare them for the fact that you will be sitting in front of them when they are getting the shot.
3. The third thing you can do is to introduce a coping card for your child to write out in advance. Your child should plan to read the coping card to you as the parent over and over, so that they are distracted until the shot is over. For example the card can say: "This will hurt for a second, but then it will be over. I can do it."
4. Let your child know that you will be giving them a reward when they are done. This can be a small toy that is wrapped up for them to open after the shot is done. In addition, we have a treasure chest in our office.