The importance of Debrief with your kids after a vaccination

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Your kids will be going back for a second dose – the debrief is SUPER important to ensure a smooth next vaccination (although always good to do preparation again).

It’s easy to put a big Job Done line through the vaccine once it’s over, but your child may still be processing the experience.

Here are my top 4 debrief tips

Ask how they felt it went and validate all feelings.

I could see my youngest was subdued in the hours after the vaccine. So I started the conversation with “Having a vaccine was a big deal, wasn’t it?” Whereas for my eldest, who was completely fine, I just asked “how did you find all that?”

You can open things up with the classic: “What was the best part and what was the worst?” Sometimes the worst will be a surprise answer (eg I was bored waiting in the queue), and something that you can easily address next time.

Poke fun at the scary bits where you can!

Making fun of anything difficult is a great way to make it less scary. My boys chose to make jokes, so I followed their lead. No matter how silly, all joking is to be encouraged. My kids decided that the needle was like Gru’s nose (yes, Mr Gru from Despicable Me).

Tell them how proud you are.

Tell your children at the time and again later, on several occasions,how proud you are of them for being so brave.

Believe your child if they tell you they are “feeling sick”.

Your child may well be tired, particularly if they were very nervous or found the whole process tricky. Be gentle with them. We had a PJ afternoon reading Star Wars cartoons in bed.

Having that mum-time (it was me in this case, but any significant grownup), not being pushed to do anything else, was just what they needed.

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Picture of Dr Kathryn Hackman
Dr Kathryn Hackman

Dr Kathryn is the founder of Courageous Kids, a toolkit for parents of of 2-6 year olds to help prepare for change and reduce the anxiety associated with new experiences.

It was inspired by her own experiences with her 5-year-old, who had no problems riding his bike down the stairs but required extra time and assistance to prepare for new events or changes. Kinder drop offs were hard! In collaboration with a paediatric psychologist and occupational therapist, Kathryn has built the Courageous kIds app, a resource that enables parents to set their children up for success with new experiences.

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