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Preparing your child

Preparing your child

When your child must visit or be admitted to a health care facility, it can be a stressful time for both you and your child. Your feelings about the visit can affect your child’s emotions and behaviors, so remember to speak positively around your child when discussing the upcoming visit to Shriners for Children Medical Center. Honesty will be important to your child. Be sure to have all your questions answered by your child’s physician. The unknown of the medical center environment can be frightening. By helping your child prepare, you can make the experience a more positive one.

Younger children

  • Read stories or watch videos with your child about going to the medical center.
  • Encourage doctor play. Allow your child to talk about his or her thoughts and feelings.
  • Allow your child to help pack. Let him or her choose a few favorite items to bring to the medical center.
  • Know what is comforting to your child and share those methods with the staff members helping to care for your child.
  • Reassure young children that visiting the medical center is not a punishment, but instead is a chance to stay in a place where children heal.

Adolescents

  • Have your teen speak with someone who has had a similar experience.
  • Encourage your teen to maintain contact with family and friends through visits, phone calls, email or mail.
  • Remind your teen to include both special and personal items such as pictures of family and friends or music. Please leave valuables at home.

Siblings

The medical center can also be a stressful event for brothers and sisters at home. Their day-to-day routine may be altered with the absence of a caregiver. Brothers and sisters may experience feelings of isolation. To ease potential anxiety, please remember to:

  • Encourage siblings’ understanding of a surgery.
  • Continue to provide understanding and reassurance for the siblings at home.
  • If siblings are unable to accompany them, help them feel included by suggesting they make decorations or get well cards.

When there is no time to prepare

Surgery 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. Children can experience distress related to unplanned events. You can help your child through this difficult time.

Be honest. 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 the treatment team to get them information.

Remain supportive. You are your child’s source of comfort and love.

   
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