Shots can be one of the things your child fears most, and with good reason. One negative experience can leave a lasting memory that can make it an upsetting procedure for the rest of their lives.
A recent report from the University of Michigan suggests parents can reduce the pain, anxiety and stress of getting immunizations simply by making pleasant small talk. Researchers indicated positive language before shots made a difference in children as young as 6 months old. Their ability to cope with the pain was greatly improved when someone was talking calmly to them about humorous topics not related to the task at hand.
Kids that were offered medical explanations of the procedure or were reassured with promises of rewards seemed less able to cope with the pain of the injection.
In addition, the existing mood of the child determines how well he or she will take the pain. Kids who were alert or fussy before getting shots seemed more receptive to pleasant small talk than a detailed play-by-play of what was happening to them. Those who were sleeping or outright crying before the shots were not comforted by pacifiers or calm, reassuring language.
The report can be read in the July issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.