How To Assist Your Child in Receiving a Flu Vaccine

One of the challenging times of parenthood is letting your child get a flu vaccine.  If you have taken your child to the doctor for a flu vaccination, you know how hard it is to watch and control your child’s reactions.  Here are some tips to assist your child in receiving a flu vaccine with the least possible trouble.

  1. Inform your child about the vaccine’s purpose.  A child is expected to resist the idea of getting pricked by a needle.  To convince the child, tell about the advantages of having a flu vaccine.  Describe the effects of the flu virus and let the child remember times when she had the illness.  Explain that the discomfort she feels during vaccination is only temporary.  Make her understand that pain felt in seconds is nothing compared to the months that she is protected from the illness.
  2. Be truthful.  A shortcut in making a child take a vaccine is to lie that the vaccine does not hurt.  This may work at first, but a child is usually perceptive about whether she is being lied to, and she may observe other children get hurt during vaccinations.  Lying causes the child to lose trust in you and exaggerate her fears.  To counteract this, tell the truth about the vaccine and support her during the vaccination.
  3. Teach your child pain relief measures.  Children are very concerned about how the vaccine hurts, thus you have to teach your child how to lessen the pain.  A technique to lessen pain is to take a deep breath before vaccination.  Another is to relax the body.  Let your child think about positive thoughts instead of frightening images to promote relaxation and take the mind off the pain.   
  4. Let her see other people get vaccinated.  If possible, bring your child with you during your own vaccinations.  Show your child that the pain is tolerable and that you still do things normally after being vaccinated.  Show your child that people get vaccines all the time, and that it is a normal part of living a healthy life.
  5. Be firm.  Children dislike getting hurt during vaccinations despite knowing the reasons why they have to take the vaccines.  They may try to convince you to cancel the vaccination, have tantrums, or distract you.  Because of this, you must show firmness in letting your child have her vaccine.  This is to make her know that you are serious about the flu vaccine, and she may behave properly during future vaccinations.
  6. Be supportive.  Children feel a variety of emotions during vaccinations, such as fear, uncertainty, helplessness and frustrations.  Show your child support as she goes through a challenging situation in her life.  Hold her hand during the vaccination, tell soothing words, and be relaxed to make her know that things are fine.
  7. Praise the child.  When the vaccination is finished, show your appreciation for the child’s courage.  Smile, hug her and say words of appreciation.  You may give rewards such as candy or toys, but take note that when you give material things, your child may expect them every time she gets vaccinated. 

Assisting your child in receiving a flu vaccine involves meeting her intellectual, emotional and physical needs.  Give your child knowledge, comfort and pain relief to make her become more willing to receive a flu vaccine in the future.


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