Having a sick child is a very difficult experience for any parent or caregiver. To help alleviate anxiety, try to understand your own feelings, perceptions and fears about hospitalization before talking to your child. Do not be afraid to ask for help and identify people in your life who can be your support systems. Talk with your child’s health care team about his or her treatment plan and learn about the tests and procedures involved in your child’s care and recovery.
Hospitals can be a frightening place for a child. Preparing your child in advance of his or her hospital stay may reduce anxiety by setting clear expectations. It will also help your child cope and establish trust with you and the people he or she meets in the hospital.
It is common to see changes in a child’s behavior before, during or after hospitalization. Children’s responses to hospitalization and medical procedures will differ depending on their age, the procedure being done and their past experiences with medical care.
Here are some ways to prepare your child for a more comfortable hospital stay:
The siblings of patients can also face unique challenges during their brother’s or sister’s hospitalization. Issues may arise due to:
As a result, siblings may eat or talk less, withdraw, act out in attention-seeking ways, have outbursts of pent-up feelings and/or start acting in a more immature manner than normal.