Mentally preparing your child for the COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus Local Impact

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Taija Ramsey is the mother of 5-year-old Ava.

Her daughter now qualifies for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. And Taija says she wants to get her daughter mentally ready for the shot.

“I know there are kids who are terrified of needles and I don’t want her to be that,” said Taija. “I am the ‘just do it and get it over with’ type of person so I am kind of making her that way too so she wont be that scared of needles.”

Health experts say that fear of needles can be common amongst young children and the best way parents can prepare their child for the shot, is to talk about it.

Health experts say after you let your child know they are getting the shot, create strategies they can use while being vaccinated to help regulate their stress. Strategies can include:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Managing your child’s expectations of getting the shot
    • Saying that the shot may hurt a little, but it will be quick
  • Providing distractions like your child’s favorite toy can also help with their stress

“Bringing bubbles can be helpful, blowing on a hand windmill, just to distract them from that actual shot,” Dr. Chrystal Wittcopp, Medical Director at Baystate General Pediatrics, recommends. “Then talk to them afterwards and saying, ‘hey, how was that? How did that feel for you?'”

Dr. Wittcopp adds if your child is nervous, create a game plan with your pediatrician and even ask for numbing cream. And of course, when the shot is all done, celebrate with your child even if there were some tears.

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