We need to train our kids for real life, while not scaring the pants off them.
I had such an opportunity today.
My youngest son needed to have blood drawn and I decided to prep him before we got there. He was all set and ready to go. Brave face, brave smile, ready to face danger head on.
Then his kind brothers piped in.
As we pulled into the parking lot one of the brothers says, “Hey, maybe they will use a chainsaw with blood sucking needles all around the blade!”
Before I could reign them back in the older wiser brothers had filled the munchkins head with a few wonderfully horrible images to ponder as he silently walked toward the lab.
Are you kidding me?
After I rebuked the brothers sharply, using my best mean mommy face. We went inside.
I am thrilled to report, the seven-year-old did great!
He followed instructions perfectly and didn’t shed a tear or even utter the word “ouch”.
Half way through the many viles of blood he says, “I can’t even feel it mom.” Victory!
- You need to stay calm. You need to breath. They need to look at you and see a parent that knows that this is for their good.
- Tell them often that they can trust you and that you will never let them be surprised by a needle or painful procedure without advance warning- except in the case of an emergency.
- Role play doctor scenarios. Please do this at least once a year. Gather “supplies” while at doctors offices. They are usually glad to help.
- Let them know exactly what will happen. Do not down play a shot or surgery. Kids can handle the truth, especially if they get it delivered to them in a non-threatening moment.
- Give them coping skills. Remember Lamaze breathing? It works for shots and minor owies. Breathing does wonders. Holding and squeezing a hand works. Teach them to breath as they cry. Use the next scraped knee episode to practice.
- Explain long before they are strapped into a chair that struggling and having a fit will increase their pain and suffering. Show them. Hold your arm out and breath and relax. Have them feel your arm. Now strain and tense up and have them feel the difference. Stress and fear cause us to tense up… Each them to breathe.
- Let them know it’s ok to cry, just to breathe and trust you.
- Take them with you when you need blood work done and put on a brave face.
While I know that prepping our children does not always guarantee eventless medical procedure, it really does help.
Role play in advance.
One of my boys has had 10+ surgeries, been under anesthesia over 20 times, and countless shots and needle pricks.
3 of my boys have needed IV’s at one point or another.
I am the one who always held them down. But my husband is the one who insisted on prepping them in advance… It’s made a day and night difference.
What have you done to prep your kids for shots, bloodwork, and surgery?
6 simple ways to prepare child for blood draw