Please, please, please, on behalf of everyone at the pediatrician’s office, consider how you talk to your children about vaccines.
Today I overheard a mom and her 4 year old. All I could hear from my office is “Please do it. It will be ok. If you do it I will buy you anything you want.” When I walked by the Mom looked at me with pleading eyes and said “She needs to get her flu vaccine.” To which I replied “Oh, it’s so quick and easy. Just blow on your finger and you won’t feel it. It will help your body stay healthy.”
What I did not get to say was-Mama, you may be feeding into your daughter’s fear of vaccines.
We need to be strong and convicted so our children believe in what we are doing. Kids, by nature, fear shots. But they need grownups to guide them and not add fuel to their fears. The tricky part is when a parents shares the fear of vaccines.
If you are having trouble helping your children when they get vaccines here are some suggestions. (These suggestions can be translated to other parenting topics as well.)
-Never let the little’s see you stress. If they know you are afraid they may add this to their own natural anxiety. So fake it till you make it!
-Talk about the reason we get vaccines. Vaccines help our bodies fight and stay strong. We all need to get them at some point in our lives.
-Don’t make promises about treats following the vaccines. Just celebrate how strong they were. Distract them discussing what stickers they received.
This is real life. They will have to conquer these fears. And you can help them!