Children have a hard time understanding why they need immunizations like Chickenpox, Polio, MMR, and the DPT Vaccine. Agreed it is easier to take a baby to the doctor for shots than it is for the 5-year-old getting ready to enter kindergarten. Here is a guide to help you explain to your 5 years old why they need to have shots at the doctor.
Remind your child that it is much better when they are healthy rather than being sick. Tell your child that doctors give you shots to keep you healthy and that to go to school or daycare, every child has to have them. Tell them about the shots they received as a baby and tell them how good they were for those and that they acted like it didn’t even hurt. This will make them think a bit about already having it done to them in the past, and of course, bad memories won’t be remembered unless you bring it up, so keep it positive.
Tell your child about diseases that can make you sick like measles, mumps, and whooping cough. Make sure to tell them that there are lots of other diseases that have big names and are too hard to say. You can tell them it is easy to be protected from getting these diseases by just taking these few shots now. They can even protect them from these diseases when they are grown-ups like you.
If your child needs more persuasion to get them to go willingly, talk about when you were a child and had to have your shots. When they realize that people have been doing this for many years, and they are not alone in getting shots, it helps. You can even tell them that they might see one or more of their friends who are the same age at the doctors’ office getting their shots too.
Some parents feel differently about how to approach their older children when they know they have to get a shot. Some prefer to tell their children in advance so that they have time to mentally prepare for it whereas some parents prefer waiting until the morning of so that their child doesn’t have to spend too much time thinking about it and getting all worked up over it. The choice is yours to make, we just hope to provide you with some easy ways to discuss getting shots with your children.