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Share your tips on how you prepare your child for a flu vaccination with Public Health England - £300 voucher to be won! NOW CLOSED

(310 Posts)
EllieMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 08-Nov-17 12:20:04

Flu season is fast approaching, which also means flu vaccinations have arrived. Getting a flu vaccination can be a daunting experience for anyone, especially for young children, click here to find out everything you need to know about the children's flu vaccination. Public Health England (PHE) want to know your tips on how you prepare your child to get vaccinated against flu.

Here’s what PHE have to say: “The nasal spray is a quick, easy and painless way to help prevent young children catching flu. Flu can be horrible for little children, and if they get it, they can spread it around the whole family. PHE encourages all parents of children who are eligible to get their children vaccinated. ”

Do you tell them in advance or wait until they get there? Perhaps you let them take their favourite toy to school to use as a distraction? Or do you plan a treat for afterwards so they have something to look forward to?

Whatever your tips, share them on the thread below to be entered into a prize draw where one lucky MNer will win a £300 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck


Standard Insight T&Cs apply

NeverTwerkNaked Wed 08-Nov-17 13:04:55

I told my daughter in advance and explained what was involved
And why It was important. I probably wouldn’t have got her a treat after as it is such an easy procedure, but her brother has to have the injection due to his egg allergy, so he was getting a lolly and I didn’t want to leave her out!

FadedRed Wed 08-Nov-17 13:27:12

Certainly explain beforehand. If they associate the doctor or nurse with something unpleasant, like preschool boosters, then tell them there isn't going to be a needle (if they are having the nasal vaccine) and that it is just a little drop of water in their nose. That it won't hurt, but might make them feel like they want to sneeze. If they are having injection, then tell them it will be in the arm, show them where and that it will feel like a pinch. That they need to sit very still and not wiggle around. Tell them it will only take a few seconds, provided they are sensible and sit nice and still. Count to five slowly to slow them how short a time 'a few seconds' are.

Play at going to the doctor/nurse beforehand with their dolls or teddies.

For the vaccination, sit them on your knee, for little ones, or let them stand between your knees, and give them a hug which holds their arms away from the syringe. Praise them, for being sooo good.

Do not let anyone tell them, even as a 'joke', that it will be horrible, or if they hear tales from friends or (unfortunately) family about bad experiences of vaccinations, just be brisk and calm and say the person is being silly.

Don't scare them by letting them know if you have any sort of fear or phobia of vaccinations. Parents should act like adults and help their children with this type of situation. It's not fair to pass on your fears and phobias to your children. Be brave.

Be very everyday and commonplace about this. No big deal. They should know that your expectation is that they will behave.

I think a reward is justified for vaccinations, many surgeries will give a 'I've been brave' sticker, but it's nice if parents can produce a sweetie or some small reward for good behaviour. It's not an everyday thing, and good memories of anything medical can help if/when they need other procedures.

FadedRed Wed 08-Nov-17 17:50:30

Surprised at so few replies to this.

fivekidsonemum Wed 08-Nov-17 21:39:20

I tell all my 5 kids in advance that any medicines/needles that they need to have has a "special power" in it, so when they had their pre school booster needle I told my 1st child that it would make him run faster and when he came out of the doctors I made him run so I could see if it had passed its "power" on to him, then when it was my 2nd child's turn my eldest child told him that it really did give him a special power to run fast so he wasn't as scared & he was eager to get the power and he too then ran for me to see, and so on till they all had it and believed it did make them faster. Other "special powers" they've had from needles/medicines include - made them draw better, made them jump super high, sing & dance better and made them ride their bikes with no stabilisers (it gave them the confidence to try and because they believed it they were determined till they actually did)

So this nasal spray will also have a special power for them but what it is yet I don't know maybe it will make them behave better !! grin

FridgeCut Thu 09-Nov-17 11:00:49

We talk about it generally and practice sniffing! He hates jabs so I make sure he knows it isn't a needle and that it is just like sniffing back in a big bogey. I try not to make a big deal out of it or offer any form of bribary.

CMOTDibbler Thu 09-Nov-17 11:17:39

I've always gone for not talking about it until immediately before, a matter of fact 'you need this to stop you getting bugs', then small packet of sweets on the table in front of them for after

MargoLovebutter Thu 09-Nov-17 12:41:54

Explain shortly beforehand. If you have a nasal decongestant at home, demonstrate what it is like on yourself and show how it doesn't hurt. Tell them how very lucky they are to be receiving vaccinations, so that it feels like a really positive thing.

starlight36 Thu 09-Nov-17 12:44:31

I emphasise that the nurse is going to give them some special medicine which will stop them from being really ill. The nasal spray is great as they genuinely find it funny as apparently it tickles so I just remind them that they like having it!

Belmo Thu 09-Nov-17 12:58:49

I told my dd in advance what would happen- she is six and remembers getting it before.
The first year, when she was 2/3, she got all dressed up as a nurse to go, and pretended to give all the nurses theirs first!

SparkleFizz Thu 09-Nov-17 13:02:05

We generally explain about vaccinations shortly beforehand, with a big emphasis on “this is special medicine to help stop you getting sick”.

IncaAztec Thu 09-Nov-17 14:30:10

I told my DC in advance, she hates surprises. I also let her know she might be rewarded with a sticker (which she was 🙂).

sharond101 Thu 09-Nov-17 14:34:49

Hadn't really thought about this but yes I will let my son know in advance but not make any big deal of it.

FlowerTink Thu 09-Nov-17 14:49:00

DD is two and had it this week. I explained in the car on the way there that the nurse was going to give her special medicine to keep her well. She's very good at the doctors as she's a big fan of Doc McStuffins! And the nurse gave her a sticker afterwards and she spent the rest of the day proudly telling everyone "I had medicine up my nose!"

Caillou Thu 09-Nov-17 14:56:56

I never make a big deal of it, just tell her that the nurse is going to give her a spray in the nose which will make her stronger for the winter.
I always found, that the more you fuss about it, the more scared they get.

AGnu Thu 09-Nov-17 15:16:05

We're still trying to arrange vaccinations for our HE DC. Our GP can't do them because they're school age. Apparently Boots do them but they either don't answer the phone or just tell us to call back in 3 weeks. We've been calling every few weeks since September & still don't know when we'll be able to get them done.

DC are 6 & 4. I had my jabs a few weeks ago because I'm pregnant so we talked to them about it then. They understand what's going to happen & the 6yo can give a simple explanation of how the immune system/vaccinations work. Always better to explain things to them, IMO. My eldest has ASD so springing things on him is never a good idea! If we ever actually manage to get them vaccinated, I'll come back & let you know how it goes...! We won't be offering rewards though - much the same as chores around the house, some things just need to be done & we don't expect the DC to need to be bribed to do things!

FlopIsMyParentingGuru Thu 09-Nov-17 15:28:31

Last year aged three we told DD that she was going to have some special fairy dust up her nose that would give her special super powers to fight a nasty illness. She didn't love it but it explained why with a bit of adddd sparkle.
This year (aged 4) she can remember she didn't like it so she came along and saw me get my injection and then I tooo her out for a coffee and we we had a chat about how it stung a tiny bit but wasn't that bad but I would rather that to being ill for a long time and missing out on more fun.
She knows the story of the year I caught flu just before Christmas and spent Christmas and new year in bed. So a mix of downplaying the unpleasantness and up selling the benefit. These days both dc understand that it helps the God soldiers in our blood fight germs that can make us ill.

FlopIsMyParentingGuru Thu 09-Nov-17 15:29:20

Good soldiers rather than God soldiers. I apologise!

UpOnDown Thu 09-Nov-17 16:11:13

I explain beforehand why it's important and how they do it. Sweeties for after!

showmewhatyougot Thu 09-Nov-17 16:11:14

I always role play things out with my DS so he knows what to expect.

From practice trick or treating to imaginary dentists.

He had his flu sniff last week, I made him sit on our bench and put his head back and sniff back, I think it really helps him.

Sammyislost Thu 09-Nov-17 16:32:50

Perhaps you could play pretend at home, and set up a role play 'flu spray' game with your child. Maybe use an empty calpol dispenser and just squirt air up their nose! And then let them do it to you. include small talk like 'whats your name' 'who is your teacher/soft toy etc' to get them used to the idea.

ButterflyOfFreedom Thu 09-Nov-17 17:09:32

I told my son on the morning before he was due to have it a couple of hours later. That way I could explain and he could ask questions in plenty of time. He also got a treat afterwards (just a biscuit!) but that was his incentive for being good and doing as the nurse asked- it worked!

mummymi Thu 09-Nov-17 17:52:34

I didn't mention it to my two this year. They have had it twice before and this year they had it in school.
I asked them after school if they had had some medicine today, they said they had and went on to talk about something else!

BloodyWorried Thu 09-Nov-17 17:57:03

I used a nasal saline spray last year for a few days before it to get him used to having a spay up his nose, and did mine at the same time to show him it wasn’t anything that would hurt him (once a day for three days). When we were leaving to go to the doctors I explained that we were going for a special nose spray just this once and that it wasn’t different to the one at home. I think the more hype before hand increases anxiety, there are no treats afterwards because I’m don’t want to make a big deal of it. I think children who get it at school might need a different approach, especially because parents aren’t with them to reassure and it’s very different to the day to day things that happen at school. No tips for that though as we’re not at that stage just yet.

Callamia Thu 09-Nov-17 18:01:47

My four year old had seen me have my vaccine the week before. He’d also seen me use a saline spray on his baby brother. These two things meant that he was pretty much fine about standing in the nurse’s surgery room and have her spray it.

We’ve also talked about what vaccination is. We’ve used an old ‘how your body works’ book to give him an idea about ‘little germs’ and that his body will know how to fight them away.

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