How To Prepare Your Child For Shots


Being poked is never a fun experience and it’s no wonder why many kids cry when it’s time to get their shots. You’ve probably sat in the waiting room of the pediatrician’s office, with your child, and heard crying from a child in another room.

Children need shots to be protected from disease and illness so it’s very likely your child will need one soon in preparation for the flu season.

Pop Quiz for Parents. Are You Honest about Shots?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you told your child that getting shots from needles will NOT hurt?
  • Have you blamed the “mean” nurse or “bad” doctor for giving your child a shot?
  • Have you answered “no” when asked by your child if he or she will get a shot at the doctor’s office today even when you knew the answers was “yes?”

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, I’m asking parents to consider a more honest approach with children about shots at the doctor’s office.

Suggestions for being honest about shots:

Your child needs to know exactly when he or she will be getting a shot and will NOT be getting one in order to build trust in the medical staff. In the long run, this will help reduce your child’s anxiety ahead of visits to the doctor’s office.

Here is an example of how you can approach the topic of your child’s visit with the pediatrician:

“Antonio, today you will be going to visit Dr. Olson for your check-up. Dr. Olson will check how tall you are and how much you weigh.  She’ll also check your eyes and ears, listen to your heart and breathing and will ask you questions about yourself.  At the end of this, she’ll give you a shot to keep you healthy.” 

If your child asks if it will hurt, you can say (calmly),

“It will hurt slightly for a very short time and then it will be done. After this, you’ll get a Band-Aid.”

Your child will still experience the pain of the shot, but will realize that they can trust you to warn them appropriately when something will hurt.

Tips for how to bring up the subject of shots:

It is best to remain calm when telling your child it’s time to get a shot.  Let your child know that children their age receive shots in order to be healthy. Maintaining a peaceful attitude encourages your child to remain still and calm during their visit.

If your child panics, remain calm and let them know that even though it might hurt, it will be over soon.

Here’s a list of don’ts to keep in mind before, during and after the visit with the pediatrician:

  • Don’t go into a long explanation.
  • Don’t debate.
  • Don’t bargain.
  • Don’t yell.
  • Don’t show too much emotion.

This is a guest post by Cheryl Franco, MSNEd, RN, RN Remedies® blogger and education manager on the Medical/Surgical and Liver and Kidney Transplant unit at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Visit to read Cheryl’s recommendation on WHEN you should tell your child they’re going to the pediatrician.



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