Things You'll Need:
*Lots of love and understanding
What to do:
Children at the preschool age are very perceptive. When they were under age two, they would go to the doctor without so much as a whimper, like they were blissfully unaware of the fact that they were about to get a shot. When kids reach age two, they definitely know as soon as you pull into the doctor's office parking lot, what is in store for them inside. Even though they don't get a shot every time, they tend to remember it really well, and become scared for even a routine checkup. Be patient with kids this age. They are genuinely frightened, so you have to be understanding with them.
Invest in some children's books about doctor visits or check out some from the library. There are quite a few out there, and most of them mention getting shots as part of the visit. It is usually downplayed and will help prepare your child for what to expect. Fear of the unknown is big with kids this age. If they know what to expect and have read about it in a fun way, they will be more at ease.
Don't talk about the doctor visit too far in advance of the appointment. If you do, it will only give them more time to build up anxiety. Tell them on the day of the appointment that they are going in for a checkup. Focus on the other parts of the checkup instead of the actual shot. Don't even mention the shot until you get there, or you may have a crying child who is stressing out all the way there.
If the child asks if they will be getting a shot, tell them that you are not sure and you will have to ask the doctor when he comes in to the room. Try to keep them calm. They will be able to deal with it better when it is given to them. Most of the fear is just due to the anxiety and stress they have about it instead of the actual pain. Let them know that if they get a shot, it will only be a little pinch for and then it won't hurt any more.
It really helps to take some distractions into the doctor's office. Kids will be less focused on what is coming and more focused on the distraction. Some great ideas are taking a portable DVD player in and letting them watch a movie, a hand-held video game, a favorite toy or doll, or even sucking on a sucker or piece of candy. It also helps to sing songs with your child while they are preparing to do the shot. You just want to keep their attention off of the shot.
Another great tip to keep in mind if you have two or more preschoolers is to get their shots separately. Fear and anxiety is contagious. If one child sees the other one get a shot and cry, then they will really not want to get theirs. You can take your child in with you to get your shots if you want to show them that even grown ups get shots. Show them how you are not scared and it will help ease them into it.
Hopefully these tips will help you with your preschooler. All kids are different, but they seem to have this fear of shots in common. Pick and choose what works best for you and your child.