This week Kellan saw his pediatrician for his third year well-child check-up. I had been preparing him for the visit and I debated whether I should tell him about getting immunization shots. It's never easy to witness your child being vaccinated, but I wondered whether keeping the information from him would be a benefit in the long run.
It just didn't feel right to spring the shots on him during the visit, so I told him the night before and the morning of the appointment that he would have to get shots. He said he didn't like shots, but he didn't seem too anxious about it. I think he vaguely remembered getting his last round of immunizations, but it wasn't fresh in his mind, so he didn't put up a big fuss. If that was the case, I wasn't going to emphasize the fact that he was going to get poked with a sharp needle.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents should prepare their child in advance of shots no matter how old he or she is. The challenge for me was even working up the nerve to tell him in case it caused him anxiety. The rest is pretty intuitive: be reassuring, comfort your child, and hold your child for the shots when it's possible.
Kellan sat on my lap for his shots, and even though he started objecting once the doctor said it was time, he didn't try to wiggle free or cry beforehand like the last time we went through this. He cried, but it lasted less than a minute. Once we left the doctor's office he assured me, "I'm not crying anymore." Talking about what to expect was the right decision for us. He handled it just fine. My little guy is growing up!