Hospitalization is usually an unexpected event in the life of a child, and when a child goes into the hospital the entire family is affected. These tools can provide comfort to your child - and you.
Your child needs to know you will be there - whether it's an overnight stay or a same day surgery. Every developmental stage is marked with concern of separation and abandonment. When your child is placed in a strange environment and is left alone, these fears and anxieties are enhanced.
Keep Your Cool
Stay calm, for you and your child. The best way to calm personal fears is to get all of your questions answered. Ask your child's doctor any medical questions you have, and rely on our experienced Child Life staff for emotional support.
Be Honest With Your Child
Understanding the hospital and what to expect can help the whole family feel more comfortable. Visiting the hospital ahead of time and attending a Pre-op Party are good steps to take. Find out what your child knows, what they may be confused about, and adjust what you tell them accordingly. And always remember to be truthful. Honesty is the best policy!
Offer Reassurance and Praise
Children don't always have to be "brave" or a "big boy." Talk about different ways to cope with what is happening, such as looking the other way, holding a hand, taking deep breaths or even blowing bubbles. Always reassure your child that they did a good job, always keep your cool, and always let your child know someone will be there to help them.
When You're Back Home
In addition to getting "back to normal" as soon as you can, have some play medical equipment around so that the child can work through any unresolved issues. Remember that regression and fears are normal and your child still needs you to be supportive and understanding.