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How to Make Blood Draws Easier for Kids

Most people do not look forward to having their blood drawn…for children, it can be a very scary and anxiety-filled procedure. Here are some simple tips that may help parents whose children need to have blood drawn.

blood draws

Attitude

Your attitude is contagious! If you are tense, your child will get tense as well.

  • Be positive!
  • Be honest with your child that it might hurt!
  • Talk about where or what you are going to be doing when you leave!

Comfort

  • Your child could sit on your lap during the blood draw.
  • You could stand behind him or her and give a shoulder rub during the draw.
  • You could hold his or her other hand.
  • You could tell his or her favorite story.
  • You could leave the room…sometimes older kids would prefer this…it makes them feel grown up.
  • When it is all over, tell your child that you are proud of him or her…no matter how he or she acted during the draw.

Things NOT to say:

  • Don’t say it won’t hurt!
  • Don’t say just think of something else!
  • Don’t say just act like a big boy or girl!

Vivian Kirkfield

I'm a mom ­of three, ­educator, ­parenting ­speaker an­d author o­f Show Me ­How! Build­ Your Chil­d's Self-E­steem Thro­ugh Readin­g, Craftin­g and Cook­ing. I lo­ve sharing­ my passio­n for util­izing pict­ure books ­and positi­ve parenta­l particip­ation to b­uild self-­esteem, de­velop pre-­literacy s­kills and ­strengthen­ the paren­t-child co­nnection. ­ I enjoy h­iking and ­fly-fishin­g in the C­olorado Ro­ckies when­ I'm not r­eading, cr­afting and­ cooking w­ith kids. ­ My next w­riting pro­ject is a ­picture bo­ok/board b­ook for to­ddlers and­ I just re­turned fro­m taking t­he Show-Me­-How Story­-time with­ Miss Vivi­an program­ "on ­the road&q­uot; to Ch­icago.
Connect with me on:
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12 comments

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  • These tips are great and apply to getting shots too. Your list of “don’t”s is right on. You don’t want to lie to your child or negate whatever they might feel about the process. It’s best just to be supportive and to help them focus on other things.

  • This is such a good post, it’s so difficult for parents to go through the blood draws when the kids know what’s coming. That anticipation is never a good one if the kids don’t like it.

    We have four children and two, including the youngest, just hate getting their blood drawn. And dad does too. Come to think of it, saying “I hate getting my finger pricked too,” or something similar does NOT help. 😉

  • I was always the mom that would tell the kids to “squeeze my hand” if you want to … my daughter (who is 23 now) still asks me to go with her when she has blood drawn or has to have a shot ……… so she can squeeze my hand!

  • Great article. I dont’ like getting my blood drawn either they had to pratically hold me down or distract me just a few years ago.

  • And hopefully the blood draw will be easy on the kids!! It is always so difficult to get blood out of me–I just grin and bare it (along with the black and blue mark)

  • I’m passing this along to my sisters! My nephew has allergies and has to go in for shots regularly! I’m sure she will find this very useful! thanks for the post!

  • I’m so happy my post was helpful. Your ‘Needle Strategy’ is wonderful…congratulations on being so responsive and attuned to what your child needs. Helping children (whether autistic or not) feel in control of a situation is something every parent should try to do. Most of the time, if kids know what is going to happen, their stress levels go down. That’s why I encourage parents of all kids to have a set daily routine..flexibility is important, of course.:)

  • Great article! I wanted to share my own now-positive experience. Until age 5 or 6, we had a terrible time getting blood from or shots into my son, who is autistic. It took 3-4 people to hold him down, and most of us left the encounter with bruises or worse. His fear is really on the level of a phobia, I think; he’ll even leave the room if he sees someone getting a shot on TV!
    I finally realized that part of his terror was due to not understanding what was going on. He needed to be able to prepare mentally for the shot or blood draw. We started talking with him a week or so before each experience; we guided him to “give shots” to his favorite stuffed friend and to talk with and comfort the friend. We also helped him develop his own personal “Needle Strategy”, a written list of the steps he wanted to take before and after each shot or blood draw. For example, he wants a back rub beforehand to help calm down, and he wants to have a sucker during the experience. He wants the nurse to wipe the area with two alcohol wipes instead of one (which they fortunately are very willing to do). He has chosen (with my guidance on what is reasonable, of course) a total of seven steps that we follow every time; this helps him feel in control of the situation, which is exactly what he needs.
    He is still frightened each time–he squeezes my hand *really* hard even though he’s almost 12 now and has therefore had years of experience with this–but he accepts the needle without fighting us. It’s a much more pleasant experience for everyone involved! 🙂

    • What a great example! Thank you for sharing with us! Nice to know that we are just giving advice but that others can read examples from other moms like you. The “Needle Strategy” is also such a great idea! Very cute!

About Author

Vivian Kirkfield

I'm a mom ­of three, ­educator, ­parenting ­speaker an­d author o­f Show Me ­How! Build­ Your Chil­d's Self-E­steem Thro­ugh Readin­g, Craftin­g and Cook­ing. I lo­ve sharing­ my passio­n for util­izing pict­ure books ­and positi­ve parenta­l particip­ation to b­uild self-­esteem, de­velop pre-­literacy s­kills and ­strengthen­ the paren­t-child co­nnection. ­ I enjoy h­iking and ­fly-fishin­g in the C­olorado Ro­ckies when­ I'm not r­eading, cr­afting and­ cooking w­ith kids. ­ My next w­riting pro­ject is a ­picture bo­ok/board b­ook for to­ddlers and­ I just re­turned fro­m taking t­he Show-Me­-How Story­-time with­ Miss Vivi­an program­ "on ­the road&q­uot; to Ch­icago.
Connect with me on:
Twitter | Google +