ARTICLES / Children / Tips for Giving Children Medication /
Perhaps the most feared medicine for children is
the shot. Often children who have chronic illnesses
will fear shots more than any other type of
medication since shots associate physical pain with
the other complications of the disease. To make it
even more difficult, there are childhood
immunizations that may confuse children as to why
they need “sick” shots and “well” shots.
The best way to help children with these
shots is to stay calm and relaxed yourself.
Children, even small babies, can sense an anxiety
and know that anxiety is not often associated with
pain-free events. By staying calm, caregivers can
help children understand that shots are necessary,
even if they do hurt.
Don’t mislead children into thinking that shots
don’t hurt. They often do. Explain that even if the
shot hurts, it is necessary in order to overcome an
illness or protect them from other diseases. Also,
prepare children for needing a shot, even before you
get to the doctor’s office. For children with
chronic illnesses, they may receive painful
injections on a regular basis. By staying prepared
in advance, children may have less anxiety when the
needle actually appears in the exam room.
Finally, reward the child when the experience is
over. Reserve some treats for those times when
painful shots need to be given so that the child
feels special as a result. Even though you don’t
want to reward children every time they take
medicine, a special treat or visit to the park may
help when medicines can’t be administered in any
other way except through injection.
Regardless of the type of medication needed for
children, there is no reason that parents or
caregivers need to fear giving them. Children, when
they understand the reasons behind the medication,
can often be convinced to take their medication
relatively stress-free. If you are having an
especially difficult time giving medication to your
children, have the doctor talk to the children.
Sometimes, just hearing it from the doctor is enough
to get children to comply.