Preparing Your Child for a Vaccine

Preparing Your Child for a Vaccine


  • In the time leading up to the visit, it is fair for you to tell your child that you are unsure whether he/she is receiving a vaccine until the medical staff informs you.


  • Validate (i.e., communicate that his/her thoughts make sense and you understand) thoughts / feelings about shots: tell him/her that you don’t like shots either; and, in fact, no one likes shots.


  • If your child asks if the shot hurts, be honest. Try: “Yes, it hurts, but only a little; like a quick pinch.”


  • After you have validated your child’s thoughts/feelings, you could let your child know that shots keep him/her healthy.


  • Work with the medical team to allow your child some control of the vaccine experience: if possible, the shot could be at the beginning or the end of the visit, he/she can watch or look away, and he/she can be surprised or the nurse can count to 3 before the shot.


  • Caregivers should stay calm, your child will likely feel calmer as well; provide comfort (“I’m here,” and “would you like to hold my hand?”), and allow for child control when possible.


  • If you think your child needs more support, please call our office (617-277-7320) to speak with one of our clinical social workers, who can provide more information and help to develop a specific plan for the visit.