Conquering the Flu Shot . Here are the tips .. :)


We have all experienced a fear of needles at some point in our lives. I can honestly say that I did not get over my anxiety until a few years ago. The fear of needles is a natural response because we start getting poked and stuck when we are infants.  By the time a child reaches the age of one, they know the person with the small metal tray is going to hurt them, and they immediately start tuning up as soon as they see it. This history is important for you to understand so that you can fully grasp the sheer joy and triumph I felt during our recent doctor visit.


I realized a few months prior to our recent doctor visit that my daughter’s comprehension of things is above average (I know. every parent says this). I assume it is because she is surrounded by adult conversation (being an only child and not with other kids very often). I believe this is why she has a very expressive vocabulary. She has knowledge about things a person wouldn’t really expect from a child. I decided to prepare her for her flu shot visit to the doctor. Now before we go too far into what happened, I must explain “The WooooSaaaaa.”  I’m sure many of you remember the movie “Bad Boys” when Martin Lawrence grabs his ears, closes his eyes and began to calmly repeat “woosaaaaaaa” to himself.  This was all in an attempt to calm himself.  Well, one night while joking around, I told my daughter to, “grab your ears like this (which we also have her do when we say listen), and say ‘woooosawwwww.’ And don’t forget to close your eyes.”  She thought that was the funniest thing!  Feeding off of this response, I told her to do this when she needed to calm down…to put her hands on her knees and take a deep breath and then “woosawwwww” with her eyes closed until she calms down. Okay. So you have the picture in your head right? Let’s proceed with our flu shot journey.


I realized I needed to explain to her what was going to happen at the doctor’s office (this fresh off of our house alarm explanation success).  I told her we were going to go to see the doctor and get a shot because we didn’t want to be sick…because when you are sick you don’t feel good.  I explained that daddy already got his shot and mommy and grandma and grandpa have to get a shot too…and so today she was going to the doctor to get hers.  She took this whole conversation very seriously because she had heard her father and I talking about doctors and being sick the night before. I told her what was going to happen, and that I wanted her to take a deep breath and hold my hands, then close her eyes and say “lista!” “Lista” means “ready” in Spanish. Then say “wooosawwwww” and squeeze her eyes and my hands until it stopped hurting. I demonstrated all of this so she would know what to do.  I let her know it was going to hurt, but only for a little bit.  I could tell she got it, but we discussed it several times on our way to the doctor’s office.  She walked in so proud and happy, and as a mom I was very nervous knowing that this could go either way. 


We went into the exam room and she was happy-go-lucky. She was smiling and speaking to everyone we passed. I swept her up and onto the table and said, “Are you ready?” She nodded and shined a big smile. The nurse told me to pull her pants down because she would give it to her in her leg. I continued explaining what was going to happen, and my daughter was fine until the nurse came in and said, “Lie down.” You see for my daughter, this signified a problem. She has always disliked lying down at the doctor’s office. I think for her it signifies a loss of control and an impending shot, so I wasn’t shocked that she immediately began to give the nurse the side-eye of distrust. Then, she saw “the tray.” In an attempt to distract her, I said, “Listen. Remember what we have to do?” In anticipation of the pain, I could see she was getting ready to cry. I said, “Wait. The nurse isn’t going to do anything until you say ‘lista.’ We are just going to practice, okay?”  In this moment, I hoped the nurse understood my indirect message for her to just give us a minute. My daughter agreed and we went through our steps. I said, “Okay. You ready? Get Mommy’s hands. Close your eyes, and when you are ready, tell her ‘lista!’  She said it! Then came the poke and the pain. I could tell she felt the pain because her face turned red and her eyes shot opened.  I said, “Oh baby. Say ‘wooosawwww, woooosawwww!” After hearing both of us saying it over and over she got tickled and started laughing! I said, “See? It’s over! You did it!” She then saw the band-aid, and with glistening eyes began to smile. In total only two or three tears fell from her sweet angel eyes.

So what is the moral of this story?  Just like adults, kids like to know what the heck is going on, and we really shouldn’t lie to them. I know that sometimes you need to “stretch the truth” or disguise it a little, but try to explain things in a way that they can understand. There have been several things I’ve told her, not realizing that she understood, and then months later she would explain to me something I had told her in passing. We tend to be more scared than they are, and by being honest with our children, we build trust and become someone they can rely on. Good luck with your upcoming flu shots and feel free to teach your kids how to “WoooooSaaaaaa” to get calm and pass through the pain.


Dana LaRieal Morales, PMP is a certified Project Manager, a National Association of Professional Organizers ("NAPO") member and the owner of, which focuses on assisting individuals with the transitions of their life so they can be their happiest self.  She loves helping people, HGTV, crime shows and being a first-time mom.  Since this is Get Organized Month, she recommends that you join her free 30-Day Declutter Challenge to start your year off right.

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