From an interview with
Child Life Specialist
McLeod Children’s Hospital
There are simple ways to prepare your child, especially those ages 5 to 11, for their COVID-19 vaccination. McLeod Children’s Hospital Child Life Specialist Cory Prescott offers these guidelines:
Any vaccine, or any shot for that matter, can be scary for children, especially young children. Here are unique strategies that you can use to help your child have a positive experience.
One of the most important pieces is to tell the truth. Prepare your child for what they are going to experience by telling the truth and using age-appropriate wording. It is okay to acknowledge that the injection might hurt, but put that feeling into context, saying it’s like a pinch or a poke. If we don’t define what hurt means, then sometimes kids will fill in the blanks with their imaginations, and often can come up with a story that’s even worse than reality.
Also, plan to bring something that will distract your child, and let them be involved in choosing that specific toy or activity. It could be a fidget toy, the “I Spy” game or bubbles. Once you arrive for the vaccination, try to maintain a calm environment and use reassuring words.
In addition, try to advocate for comfort positions. Depending on the age of your child and their comfort with needle procedures, the medical professional giving the vaccine may want your child to be held to minimize movement. Ask if you can hold your child in a chest-to-chest hug position on your lap. This is a less threatening position than being held down by strangers. It also allows you to talk to, distract and comfort your child while the doctor or nurse administers the vaccine.
If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your child’s healthcare provider.
For more information on COVID-19 vaccine, click here.