We’ll get straight to the point: Shots are never much fun for kids or parents. But since they’re something almost every baby and toddler has to go through, the least we can do is try to make them a little more bearable. Here, three tips for helping your tot make it through a vaccination—without shedding too many tears.
Serve something sweet Turns out, a spoonful of sugar really does make the medicine go down. Babies who are fed a sugary solution before a shot are less likely to cry than babies who don’t get the sweet stuff, finds a recent Cochrane review of 14 studies. Experts think the sugar could help trigger the release of pain-relieving chemicals or simply induce feelings of comfort. Either way, it works: Give babies a few drops of sugar water from a syringe; for toddlers two years and up, a lollipop should do the drink.
Bring a distraction Here’s one time when your little one’s supershort attention span works to your advantage. A toy or new book will help diver her attention from the unpleasant task at hand (and before she knows it, she’s all done!). We love Wince, The Monster of Worry, a cute plush from the WorryWoo Monster line designed to help little kids embrace their emotions. Not only is he soft and cuddly—he also comes with a hardcover picture book, Don’t Feed the Worry Bug. ($36, worrywoos.com)
Put on a happy face Got needle anxieties of your own? Keep them to yourself. Recent Spanish research finds that parents’ medical fears can be transmitted to kids (are you surprised?). So even if you’re cringing on the inside, do your best to stay calm and upbeat on the outside. It’ll ease your child’s worries—and over time, help her be okay with doctors and shots.
More from New Parent: The ABCs of Vaccines
We won’t promise zero tears, but these simple tactics will help calm your tot.