Coping with the Hospital Experience
Below are some ways you can help your child to cope with the hospital experience.
- Share any concerns you may have about your child’s emotional and developmental needs with the child life specialist or another staff member. You know your child best. We value the family as an important part of the healthcare team.
- Gather information from your doctor and the hospital. Learn why the healthcare experience is necessary and what will happen.
- Be honest. Talk with your child about what to expect before, during and after the healthcare experience. Remember that children have active imaginations and, if they don’t have enough information, they will make up a story to fill in the gaps.
- Encourage your child to express his feelings about hospitalization, illness and treatments in a safe way by writing a story, drawing a picture or engaging in pretend play.
- Bring familiar objects and activities (photos, favorite toys, blankets) to the hospital/clinic.
- Spend as much time as you can with your child, but take the time you need to eat, sleep and take care of yourself.
- Always let your child know when you are leaving and when you will return.
- Establish and maintain routines when your child is in the hospital. Encourage participation in school and activity room programs whenever possible.
- Maintain normal family limits and avoid excessive gifts.
- Allow for choice and control whenever possible (what to wear, what to take with medicine).
- Include siblings in the healthcare experience as much as possible.