Turning Vaccinations into Little Vacations

Taking your kids to the doctor for vaccinations doesn’t HAVE to be an ordeal.  That's according to Columbia University nurse practitioner Rita John.  Little ones can feel anxiety before their shots, which isn’t helped when their parent also express their own trepidations. John tells parents, “The best way to talk about vaccines is to keep the conversation positive and focused on the benefits of vaccination,” rather than making it out to be some sort of punishment.

Even if it's not really a VACATION, there are some things you can do to make getting shots easier.  One method of easing anxiety that has been shown to work is by picking up a toy medical kit so that youngsters can administer shots to a doll, toy or even mommy or daddy. At the doctor’s office, playthings like bubbles or pinwheels can also be used to distract toddlers and preschoolers.

According to John, "It doesn't matter so much what you use to make your child more comfortable so long as you do something that acknowledges that they may experience some pain and that they can do something to make it hurt less.”

Meanwhile, clinicians might also be able to apply sprays or creams beforehand to numb the pain. After the shot is given, parents should praise their kids and a small reward doesn’t hurt either.