It’s community week at my son’s preschool. Parents have the opportunity to come in and talk about their careers to the class. I volunteered to speak about my role as a child life specialist. It gave me the chance to talk about going to a wellness visit, receiving a vaccination and learn coping strategies.
I brought my play doctor kit and teddy bear, as my patient. I sat on the floor with the kids and explained that I was a child life specialist and help kids when they have to go to the doctor or have to stay in the hospital.
My four-year old sat right next to me and was so excited that he couldn’t contain himself. He was talking over me telling his friends what I do, what toys I brought and of course show them the bubbles!
The most important piece of information that I was trying to get across to the kids was the choices they have during a vaccination. I explained that a shot is another name for a vaccination and it’s given to protect our bodies from bad germs. I normalized and validated their feelings by sharing that babies, kids and adults get them. I also spoke about how it might feel and that it’s okay to cry.
4 Choices During a Vaccination
- One of the coping strategies that I taught was how to be held in a position for comfort. I demonstrated on the bear and told them that they could sit by themselves or sit on their parent’s lap either facing their parent (chest to chest) or facing outward (back to chest).
- They second was that they learned they have a choice to watch or look away.
- The kids also learned the importance of deep breathing. They practiced blowing bubbles and pretend birthday candles.
- The last choice was picking out a character band-aid.
We then played out all the steps on the teddy bear and the kids got goody bags filled with character band aids and bubbles!