I don’t care if your “baby” is 2 weeks old, 4 yrs old or a teenager. This is a traumatic experience for both the child and the parent. Seeing your child in pain is heartbreaking!
We just had our 4 yr shots today and it was no picnic. Neither for my little beach rose nor for me.
To tell beforehand or allow it to be a last-minute surprise?
If they’re still small, a little prep beforehand without actually giving it away is key…
- Try not to make a big deal out of it. “There might be some shots when we go to the doctor’s. Sometimes there are, sometimes there aren’t. Everybody gets them. They hurt for a little bit, but they’re good for your body.”
- There are some good books out there that review a typical doctor’s visit in a nonchalant way. We read this Berenstain Bears book before our visit!
- Engage your child. Have them bring their “baby” or “Lovie” and their doctor’s kit, so that they can perform their own check-up.
- Treats, treats, treats! Bring them, talk about them right before you tell your child about the impending shot, show it to them, and for goodness’ sake, give it to them right before they’re about to get the shot!
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what you may try to do to prep, because your child is most likely going to scream like a banshee. And your heart’ll be ripped out because you were the one restraining them while allowing someone else to hurt them (or that’s what their eyes will be pleading with you as they get pricked by that ridiculously long needle!) Try not to be too hard on yourself.
Try to remain strong during the process & afterwards. If your lips are quivering along with hers after she’s done, she’ll lose it. Guaranteed. If you continue to baby her about having received the shots, the band-aid, any bruising or pain she’ll think it’s a big deal and the next dr’s visit will be a rough one, or at least trying to get her there will be!
Even if they scream and cry, be sure to tell them that they did a great job and were very brave. If there is any biting or kicking, that’s a different story… (A friend of mine’s kid started kicking the nurse even before she had come at her with the needle and then when she did come near her to administer the shot, the kid bit her, hard, in the arm. I think this is a serious no-no and that proper/improper behavior should be made clear to a child, by the parent, prior to the visit.)
Whether to immunize or not…
this is ultimately your decision as a parent. I just advise that you do A LOT of research on this subject matter before you make your final decision. There is a lot at stake here. Not just the health and well-being of your “baby”, but also of other “babies” out there, who may have weakened/compromised immune systems due to health complications.