Childhood vaccines are a necessary part of life. But how do you explain them to your child? Often, the quick pinch is followed by a cascade of tears and even a look of betrayal as their parent allows the pediatrician to give them their shots. This can be a tricky situation, but there are ways that you can explain shots to your child. Remember, however, that you should make an effort to explain the vaccine differently based on your child’s age group.
The Scientific Explanation
Once kids are older, they may appreciate understanding exactly how vaccines work to help explain. This method is best suited for children in their early teenage years. Begin by telling your child that the vaccine is made up of a dead part of the disease that it prevents. Once this is introduced to your child’s body, the body begins to produce antibodies. These antibodies fight off the virus in the event that your child comes into contact with the germs that cause the disease. Videos of how shots work may also be very helpful for kids in this age group.
They Stop You from Getting Sick
The major reason that parents subject their children to the pain of vaccinations is to protect them from the dangerous illnesses that exist in the world. When a child is old enough, this can be a good enough explanation. They may not be excited about shots, but at least they will understand that they are necessary to keep them healthy. Unfortunately, not all children have a concept of sickness or prevention in the earlier years when they need their vaccine. In this case, there are a few other methods you can use.
Rely on Their Favorite Television Character
There are many kids’ television shows that discuss going to the doctor and even getting shots. These use colorful graphics, explanations from your child’s favorite characters, and other techniques to explain vaccines and doctor visits to your child. If your child is younger, these may be especially helpful. It is very likely that you do not possess the vocabulary to explain vaccines to your child in the same way that a television program can.
Remember to Stay Calm
Whether you are explaining the vaccine to your child or at the doctor’s preparing for their shots, remember that staying calm yourself is essential to your child’s success. Have you ever noticed that young children tend to react to injuries more when their parents overreact? They mirror your reactions, so staying calm and speaking in a reassuring voice will go far when it comes time for the shot itself.
Know How to Distract Your Child
The final thing that you can do to help make shots easier for your child is to know what works to distract them. There are several different things that may be able to distract your child, based on their age group. Distractions are helpful because they only allow the brain to perceive about half of the pain associated with the shot. If they are a teenager and they still get upset over shots, consider distracting them with television or a video game on your phone, deep breathing, a book, or even listening to music. Children at a school age may be interested in television or video games, counting, singing, books, or deep breathing. Finally, toddlers are often distracted by blowing bubbles, light wands, interactive toys, or singing. Most doctors and pediatricians, like the ones Night-Lite Pediatrics, will assist you with distracting your little ones, as they will typically have their own technique in giving the shot.
Remember, vaccines can be scary for a child. When you take the effort to explain them beforehand, you can take a lot of this fear away. You can also make the experience better by remaining calm and distracting your child as they get their shots.
About the author:
Lautaro Martinez is a freelance writer and family man who shares his tips and insights into raising healthy kids. If you would like to learn more about Lautaro, please check out his Google+ profile.
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