Is you child having surgery? Even the most routine surgeries send a flutter down the heart of parents, and when the procedure seems even slightly more than routine we have a very hard time keeping our nerves under control. But it is very important for a child under going a surgery to be as unstressed as possible, and one of the keys to a unstressed child is unstressed, cheerful, encouraging parents.
So take care of yourself, and keep your own nerves under control. Do what you need to destress—coffee break with a good friend, a hike in a natural area. Your child needs you as much as possible during this time to, so try to think of fun relaxing things the two of you can do together.
More Secrets to a Happy, Unstressed Child
• Talk to your child about the procedure
• Talk to your child about the hospital stay
• Let your child know what the procedure is for, and how it will help him
• Let your child choose a few special things to bring with him
• Choose a child-friendly hospital
Just because it’s scary for you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about the surgery to your child. He is the one who is going to be going through it, and it is much easier to go through something understood and familiar rather than something unknown.
Check your children’s library for picture storybooks about children having surgery or having hospital visits. Read these books together, and talk about them with your child. Talk about what the hospital stay will be like; how much you will be able to be with him, how he will be able to get help if you’re not right there. Tell him what will happen in surgery, in simple, non scary language he will understand. But don’t lie about things to make them comforting. Tell him why he is having the surgery, and how he can expect to feel better or be healthier after the surgery is done.
There should be back-and-forth conversation, not just you explaining things. Listen to your child’s fears, concerns, or wonderings. If he has questions about certain things, answer him honestly, or find out the answers if you don’t know yourself. A child having surgery should be given the chance to talk out all of his concerns without negative or frightened reactions from the listener.
Packing isn’t something just done by mom or dad; let your child have some input in it to. Even if your child isn’t interested in helping, make sure you find out what important stuffed animal or cuddly he’d like to take along, and if there are special toys he wants to have with him to play with when he has to be in bed. If you have a toddler with a blankie, the blankie has to come, no matter how disreputable it looks. Do put it in the wash to make sure it’s clean though!
If the surgery is more or less routine and you have a choice about what hospital you have it in, try to choose a child friendly hospital for your child. Children’s hospitals often have a wide range of amenities geared at little people; all they do is children, and they want their child patients to be comfortable and happy during their stay. If you can visit the hospital before the procedure, do.
Your child having surgery may turn out, in spite of the pain, worry, and uncertainty, to be a wonderful bonding time for both of you.