LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: 6 Ways to calm kids down for shots.

It’s flu season and the best way to avoid getting sick is by getting a vaccine shot…. but that isn’t an easy task to accomplish with young kids. In fact, officials with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say, roughly 2 out of every 3 kids have a fear of needles.

Growth development experts say, younger children have fewer ways to handle their fears and need some help and comfort from their parents or other caregivers. CDC officials say, there are things parents can do to help convince, and calm kids down to get protected and brave getting a shot…. and here are 6 ways:

*Be open and honest. Experts say it helps kids when they better understand why the procedure is needed, involves needles, and how it will protect them from getting sick.

*Explain what to expect. Tell your child they may feel a little pinch, but that it’ll go away very fast. Use words like “poke” rather than “pain” or “shot.”

*Never scold or belittle a child for being initially afraid.

*Bring your child’s favorite things. It could be a favorite toy or a tablet to help them focus on something pleasant.

*Distract your child. Right before the shot, call your child’s name, sing a song, act goofy, anything to pull your child’s attention away from the shot giver — and keep the distraction going even after the vaccine is given.

*Become super supportive after the shot. Praise and hugs go a long way to make them feel better about it, and more willing to do it the next time.

Experts say, once you help your kids see how vaccines are a good thing — and don’t physically hurt but for a millisecond… the quicker they’ll be more willing to get the poke, for the next appointment.