Oh Shoot, It's Shot Time Again! Make The Experience Easier On Your Little One

While vaccinations are recommended at least once a year for kids until the age of eighteen, the experience isn't something most toddlers get used to. It's understandable that going in for vaccinations is a scary proposition for youngsters – but luckily you can intervene a little to make the situation more comfortable and less overwhelming overall. Your toddler may even end up thinking of vaccine time as no big deal with the help of these tips and tricks:

Create a Colorful Calendar

A couple of weeks before your child's vaccination appointment, ask your little one to help you create a calendar that is filled with upcoming important dates, including vaccination day. Make sure that vaccination day is well decorated and stands out from the other upcoming events that are documented on the calendar, and hang it up on the bathroom wall or near your front door where you child will be able to see it several times a day. This will provide them with a regular reminder for the big day, so they can better mentally prepare themselves for the experience. You can even use stickers to put over each day that passes on the calendar to act as a visual countdown to the vaccination appointment.

Make Some Time for Fun

On vaccination day, leave the house early and spend some time at the park or a children's museum together before heading into the pediatrician's office. This will give you both an opportunity to bond with one another and put your child in a positive frame of mind that should help carry them through the process of having their vaccinations administered.

To minimize trouble when it's time to transition from the fun to the vaccinations, it is a good idea to start a countdown with your toddler about 20 minutes before you need to leave for the appointment. Offer a reminder every five minutes, and spend the last five minutes preparing for your departure. This will allow your child to take the lead and provide a sense of control over the situation so they don't feel vulnerable.  

Provide a Meaningful Reward

Once the vaccinations have been administered and you have left the pediatrician's office, consider rewarding your child with a meaningful award for their bravery. The award should reinforce the importance of getting vaccinated, if possible. A book about the benefits of getting vaccinations or of fanciful stories about doctor's visits, a toy doctor accessory set that can be used to take care of dolls at home, and a colorful toothbrush kit are all effective possibilities to consider.

Even a quick trip to the ice cream shop after leaving the doctor's office is sure to be appreciated as an award. The idea is to make your child feel good about the way they have handled themselves at the pediatrician's office, while providing them with some education that reminds them of how important healthcare is overall.

Keep Communication Wide Open

By taking the time to talk to your child about important healthcare topics, such as why vaccinations are beneficial, they'll be more likely to maintain interest in the subject as they age, and hopefully this will lead them to make educated decisions about health topics as an adult. When health is at the forefront of your little one's mind, they'll likely be more open-minded to their need for regular healthcare visits for various reasons, which is sure to make your job as a parent easier overall.

Once in a while, open the conversation to healthcare and start asking some questions of your own to gain some insight into your child's ideas. This will encourage them to start asking their own questions to enhance their personal understanding of various healthcare topics.

It's a good idea to combine and implement your preferred techniques as a "ritual" that can be followed each time you visit the pediatrician so your child can rely on the same routine without any big surprises to face.

You can also talk with pediatricians at local clinics, such as Entira Family Clinics, for more tips about vaccinations and how to help your child during the appointment.