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Preparing your child

Preparing your child

Preparing your child

Hospitalization can be a stressful time for both you and your child. The unknown of the hospital environment can be frightening. By helping your child prepare, you can make the hospital experience a more positive one. Your feelings about the hospitalization can affect your child’s emotions and behaviors, so remember to speak positively when discussing the upcoming stay at the Galveston Shriners Hospital.

Honesty will be important to your child. Answer your child’s questions openly and honestly, but keep it general and don’t promise anything. It’s appropriate to tell your child that you do not know the answer to a question. In these situations, you can let your child know that you will check with their care team to get them information.

If you have questions about preparing your child for his or her hospital or medical experience, please contact our child life department at 409-770-6800.

Younger children

  • Read stories or watch videos with your child about going to the hospital.
  • Engage your child in medical play with a doll or favorite stuffed animal to understand fears and misconceptions they may have. Ask them what they think will happen during their appointment and clarify their misconceptions when possible.
  • Allow your child to talk about their thoughts and feelings.
  • Allow your child to help pack. Let them choose a few favorite items to bring to the hospital.

Adolescents

  • Have your teen write down questions or concerns they may have and bring them with to pre-op appointments.
  • Encourage your teen to maintain contact with family and friends through visits, text messages and social media.
  • Have your teen pack for the hospital stay. Remind your teen to include both special and personal items.

When there is no time to prepare

Hospitalization can be sudden when your child has been injured. Having little or no time to prepare for the experience and not knowing what to expect can be overwhelming for children and their families. You can help your child through this difficult time.

Ways to support your child:

  • Children will reflect your behavior; try to remain calm and reassuring.
  • Be honest. Your child will look to you for answers; it is okay to tell them you don’t have the answers to their questions. Remind them that this is a new experience and you are experiencing it together.
  • Let your child know that you will check with the treatment team to get them information.
  • Remain supportive. You are your child’s source of comfort and love.
   
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