I’ve been a parent for 10 years, and a lot of things have gotten easier as my kids have grown, and other aspects of parenthood have become harder. No matter how tough some days may seem, we all have one goal: to raise happy, healthy children. We’re just doing our best. I think that’s the parent motto.
We become our children’s educators, coaches, and primary health monitors. I was the at-home parent for my kids while my husband worked, so scheduling appointments, taking them in for their vaccinations and answering doctor questions about their health fell to me. Luckily, when we needed help or had questions about their health, we had, and still have, a team of people in our lives to assist us.
It also meant that from the beginning, keeping track of vaccinations on that little yellow immunization card was my responsibility. Should be simple enough right? My doctor fills it in each time so that’s not an issue; it was always up to date. So why can I never find them? Why do I always wonder if it’s out of date even though I know that it’s not? These are rhetorical questions. I just need to get more organized.
Needles have never been easy for me. I have my own fears about them so I understand when kids are hesitant to get them. But over time, I have become much better about them. After having the kids, it was important that I was able to help support them and help alleviate their fears when they were going in for their needles. Together as a family we have tried to make each other feel better about getting them.
Both the kids have always been slightly nervous, but quite stoic when it came time for appointments that had a needle involved. Over the years, I’ve learned that talking to them and preparing them for each appointment is best. I’ve tried the last minute approach, where we just head to the appointment and they are then told it was a needle day. That didn’t work, and when they got older, they simply asked before an appointment and I didn’t lie about it. Now, we all roll up our sleeves when we need to without much hesitation.
Want to make immunizations easier for the entire family? Here are my tips:
- We purchased a numbing cream with a prescription to put on their arms before an appointment. This eases their fear that the needle is going to hurt; the thought of pain always seems to be their biggest fear.
- Put your immunization cards away in the same place all the time. Pick one spot and before the appointment grab them all! Keep them up to date.
- Know what your child’s appointment will involve. If there is a surprise needle that your child isn’t expecting, that could result in a lot of anxiousness and resistance.
- Speak to your kids about why getting their vaccinations is important. If they understand why they are getting a needle (to help prevent them from getting sick in the future) it could help calm some of their fears.
If you are in Ontario, there’s an easy way to check to stay on top of your child’s vaccine schedule. Just by going online, you can get all the information you may need before your next doctor’s appointment—you can review the schedule of vaccines and read more about them. If you have young kids, you can use the online tool to learn when your child needs to receive certain shots. Where was this when my kids were younger?
Staying on top of the vaccines is important for health reasons but also important before your child enters school because certain vaccinations are required for school attendance in Ontario, unless there is a valid exemption.
For more information, visit the website. Meanwhile, I’m off to find those little yellow forms again…
This post was developed in association with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The opinions are my own.