I live in a jurisdiction which requires COVID rapid testing for even a single mild symptom of COVID before attending school, events, shopping, etc, even if masked.
My son is a four year old in a preschool program (soon to be five), and frequently has a minor COVID symptoms like a runny nose or mild cough.
I've had to do a fair number of nose swab rapid tests on him, especially of late given the season.
He's having a fair bit of difficulty with them, to the point where he begins to panic when he sees the swab or we mention it. I eventually get him to cooperate, but he cries the whole time, even though the swabbing is only 10 to 20 seconds. Afterwards, he is a bit shaken, but does bounce back.
None of this behavior is "normal" for him - he's generally a pretty happy and reasonably cooperative kid.
I've tried using positive language with him, "Hey, Dad's just gonna check your boogies okay?", or offering a reward when it's done but it doesn't help. I've tried testing myself first to show him it's not scary. But his anxiety level just skyrockets as soon as he sees the swab or I mention that I need to swab him to the point that nothing works.
Any advice to make him less scared of the swabbing or help make him more cooperative would be helpful. Unfortunately these tests aren't going anywhere anytime soon.