Worries that school-aged children may have in the hospital include loss of privacy, pain, fear of body harm, fear of death, and a loss of independence. Here are some ways to help your school-aged child cope with the hospital visit:
- Start preparing for a hospital stay/surgery one to two weeks before your child's visit.
- Let your child pack his or her own suitcase and pick things to bring from home.
- Encourage your child to talk about feelings and worries to you and hospital staff.
- Read books about going to the hospital.
- Talk about things your child may feel and see and what will happen in the hospital. Always be honest!
- Explain why your child is going to the hospital and why he or she needs surgery or other procedures.
Coping, Distraction, and Support:
- Look at an I Spy book, I Spy board, or glitter wand.
- Play hand-held games.
- Talk about a favorite vacation place, activity, etc.
- Practice slow, deep-breathing and relaxing.
- Listen to favorite music.
- Squeeze a stress ball or hold someone's hand.
- Make a collage or sculpture with medical materials.
- Paint with syringes.
- Write a story or poem about going to the hospital.
- Design tongue depressor picture frames.
- Play and explore with real medical equipment and dolls.