Parenting Tips: Ways to help reduce children's vaccine anxiety


Looking for ways to help your child prepare for their vaccine? Check out some of the ways we recommend! What has worked for you?


1. Be honest with your children. Walk them through what happens and let them know that it might feel pinch-y for a second. Tell them how it feels, like a little poke, and that their arm might be tender for a couple of days.

2. NEVER surprise them with an injection at the last minute. It’s important that we allow our children some time to work through their fears and anxiety. You know your child best and how much time they may need. It could be a week before or the day before- as long as you give them time to process what’s going to happen.

3. Listen and normalize how they are feeling. Try saying things like, “it’s normal to feel nervous sometimes, everyone does” or “I see you are worried, do you want to talk about it?” Suggest some things that might help them help calm them, like taking slow, deep breaths, holding your hand during the injection, etc.

4. Try distracting your child while they are waiting and during the injection. Playing a game of “I Spy” or watching a show are great ways to distract a fearful child.

5. Try using a topical treatment to numb the area, such as a patch or cream. It can help to reduce the pain of a needle procedure. These topical treatments are available for purchase over-the-counter at a pharmacy, so you can buy and apply the product before your appointment. Be sure to apply it according to the time advised and you might want to do both arms just in case.

6. Be a role model for your child. Our children look to us to determine whether they should be afraid. So, if their parents are freaking out, in their mind they begin to worry that it must be a bad thing.

For more information and resources take a look at: https://www.iwk.nshealth.ca/sites/default/files/IWK-Health-COVID-19-Vaccine-Toolkit.pdf




We hope this helped! If you have any questions, please feel free to connect with Natasha Horne at nhorne@thenorthgrove.ca