Tuesday, November 02, 2021
With children ages 5 - 11 now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, more questions are being asked about what parents can do to best prepare for their child's appointment.
Sarah Rauner, Chief Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Beaumont Hospital, Troy shares some helpful tips on how to prepare your child before, during, and after their appointment at Beaumont:
What can parents do to help prepare their children for their vaccine appointment?
"Parents must prepare their child based on their age and temperament. A 5-year-old might benefit by bringing a favorite comfort toy/blanket while a 11-year-old wants honesty. Please don't ever tell children that it won't hurt. Explaining it as a fast pinch that is going to keep them healthy is a better description. Ask them what questions they have if they are nervous."
What can parents do to help make it a successful/positive experience for their child?
"One of the most important things for parents to remember is to stay calm and collected. If a parent gives off the feeling that they are not worried or anxious their child will use that in their assessment of the situation. Distraction is key for all ages. Ask them to count backwards from 10, to tell you something they can smell, see, feel, hear, and touch, or name 10 animals they like. If they start to panic, stay calm and talk to them softly. Reiterate to them this vaccine is like a shield that keeps them protected and helps protect those around them."
In what ways can parents support their child after their appointment or prepare them for a second dose if needed?
"Start talking about how brave they were, even if they cried. Remember these feelings are real for them. Teach them it's ok to be scared but it's what they do with those feelings that is most important. These kids are reacting because they are scared and nervous. Never compare them to each other in how they react. Talk together about how to make the second experience even better."
Vaccine Appointment Checklist
Use this checklist to prepare for your child's appointment:
- Have a conversation about the importance of getting vaccinated. Ask your child what questions they have if they are nervous.
- Be honest. Don’t promise it won’t hurt. You can even explain it as a fast pinch that is going to keep them healthy.
- If you have questions about the vaccine, talk to your child’s pediatrician.
- Schedule your child's COVID-19 vaccine appointment at your pediatrician's office, Beaumont’s vaccination clinic, pharmacy or local health department. We recommend that individuals choose the most convenient, soonest opportunity available.
- Stay calm and collected. If you give off the feeling that you aren’t worried or anxious, your child will use that in their assessment of the situation.
- Distraction is key for all ages. Ask them to count backwards from 10, name 10 animals, what they learned in school, etc. If they start to panic, stay calm and talk to them softly.
- Remind them how brave they were, even if they cried. Teach them it’s okay to be scared but it’s what they do with those feelings that is most important.
- Never compare them to how another sibling may have handled the situation.
- Keep your child’s vaccination card in a safe place. You may want to take a photo or make copies incase it gets misplaced. Avoid sharing a photo on social media to protect your child’s personal information. Proof of vaccination will be available on the child’s myBeaumontChart once parent’s set it up for their child and request proxy access.
For questions pertaining to your child's vaccination, talk with your family doctor or child's pediatrician.