Coping With the Health Care Experience
Be honest and talk with your child about what to expect. Remember that children have active imaginations and if they do not have enough information, they will make up a story to fill in the gaps.
Encourage your child to express his/her feelings about his/her
health care experience. This can be done in a safe way by writing a
story, engaging in pretend play or drawing a picture.
Being there with your child is a great source of comfort for
Provide physical touch to your child to help him/her feel calm,
relaxed, and secure. Examples of physical touch include swaddling
and rocking a baby and stroking and cuddling children of any
Bring special and familiar objects from home to the hospital
(for example, photos of the family/pets, favorite toys, stuffed
animals, a pillow, etc.).
Allow your child to have choices and feel in control when
possible. Allow your child to choose what to wear, what activity to
do, what movie to watch or music to listen to, etc.
Praise your child for what he/she is doing well. For example, if
your child is holding still during a procedure, tell him/her what a
good job he/she is doing.
Let your child know that is it okay to cry. Crying is a good way
for some children to cope.
Gather information from your child's doctor and the health care
team. Write down questions you want to ask the doctor or nurse.
If your child is hospitalized:
- Spend time with your child, but take time for yourself to eat,
sleep and relax.
- Remember to let your child know when you are leaving the
hospital and when you are coming back to the hospital.
- Help your child have a normal daily routine. Set limits for
your child even at the hospital. Avoid too many gifts.