Good Parenting during a Pandemic
There are so many important things we do as parents to help our children become happy and healthy adults. Vaccinating your child fits right in with the other crucial lessons you are teaching them every day.
Prepare them for emergencies. Whenever you insist your child to put on their seat belt or review your family’s fire evacuation plan, you are helping to prepare your child to survive a worst-case scenario. We can’t protect our kids from everything, but we can prepare them. Vaccines give your child the best preparation for fighting COVID and could help them avoid long-term consequences.
Show them how to evaluate information. You teach your child to evaluate two different products at the grocery store, because you want them to know a good value when they see it. It may involve numbers, calculations, and expert reviews, but you know it is an important skill. The data and expert reviews supporting vaccination are overwhelming. There are so many benefits, practically no drawbacks, and they are free. You can’t get a better value than that!
Encourage self-discipline. Brushing your teeth twice a day, doing your homework, practicing your sport or instrument. We insist that our children do these things, because we know that a small investment in time and effort now will pay off in the long run and that they will be healthier and happier as a result. The same goes for getting them vaccinated. It’s a little bit of effort now that increases the likelihood of their health and success later.
Teach them to be kind and considerate. You encourage your children to say please and thank you, so that they come to understand the value of others. Vaccinating teaches the same concept in a different way. You vaccinate so that you are less likely to pass the virus to others and because you care about your community.
The single action of vaccinating your child is good for their health and the health of everyone they encounter starting as soon as the shot is given. It also teaches them important lessons that they will carry throughout their lives.
Meghan Gunn, MD, is a pediatrician with Southwestern Vermont Medical Center Pediatrics, part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, in Bennington.