How Do We Help a Child Get Over His Fear of the Needle?
The fear of pointed objects, and particularly needles, is a very common psychological condition, especially among children around the age of five.
But what are the reasons behind this fear, and what can we do to help our little ones get over it?
Causes of fear of the needle in children include:
- A painful experience that the child had when he received his first ever injection.
- Expressions and comments a child has heard from parents or relatives about the needle (along the lines of “be brave when getting the shot” or “stay away from contaminated needles so you don’t catch an infection”).
- The fear of needles or pointed objects that an adult in a child’s immediate environment has.
- A connection that a child has made in his mind between the idea of injections and illness/ death due to a real experience he went through with one of his relatives or a close acquaintance.
So how do we help our kids get over this fear?
- Let’s distract the child by singing to him or letting him blow soap bubbles in the air or play video games.
- Avoid lying to the child and saying that the needle won’t hurt. Instead, tell him something like “it will only hurt a little and just for a few seconds”.
- We can place a cold compress or a bag of ice on the area of the child’s body where the injection will be given. This will act as a natural anesthetic for the pain he’s about to feel.
- Let’s praise our kids for all the efforts they put into trying to endure the injection as the effort in itself, is a good start in the right direction! With time, the child will realize that the discomfort he feels from the needle is only temporary and that his fear is unwarranted.
Last but not least, let us remember to be good role models for our children and not to express any worry or fear of getting an injection or blood tests. With time, our kids will succeed in getting rid of their fear of the needle.