Preparing children for a hospital visit, procedure

Life & Health

A hospital can be scary for children. They are in a strange environment and meeting a bunch of new people.

There are ways you can take the stress out of surgery for them.

Ellen Earl is a child life specialist at the Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. She says, “I think the most important thing is preparation. There are always parents who are afraid to tell their kids that they’re having surgery, but it’s more important for them to know where they’re going and why they’re going there.”

Tell them the truth but avoid confusing medical terms. Use neutral, unemotional words and focus on how they’ll feel.

Preschool-aged children should be told two days before the visit, but older children will likely want more time to process. Some hospitals offer a printable coloring book you can get online, which walks your younger child through the steps of surgery.

They also recommend you bring items from home like a favorite toy or blanket for familiarity.

Earl adds, “That way when the child separates from their parent, it’s not a difficult separation because they have those items from home that are comforting for them.”

Teens might feel a loss of independence and privacy when staying in the hospital.

Let them pack their own belongings and include them in the decision making for their health care.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Special Olympics: Athlete Spotlight

Special Olympics powerlifters get ready for competition

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics powerlifters get ready for competition"

Special Olympics Cross Country Skiing

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Cross Country Skiing"

Special Olympics Basketball

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Basketball"

Special Olympics Michigan Area 36 2020 U.P. Winter Games

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Michigan Area 36 2020 U.P. Winter Games"

Special Olympics: Downhill Ski

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics: Downhill Ski"

Special Olympics Figure Skating

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Figure Skating"

Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

Thumbnail for the video titled "Polar Plunge for Special Olympics"

Latest News Video

GAME OF THE WEEK: Negaunee tops Westwood in Mid-Pen clash; Leece reaches 1k

Thumbnail for the video titled "GAME OF THE WEEK: Negaunee tops Westwood in Mid-Pen clash; Leece reaches 1k"

Precious Metals 2-21-2020

Thumbnail for the video titled "Precious Metals 2-21-2020"

Stocks 2-21-2020

Thumbnail for the video titled "Stocks 2-21-2020"

LOCAL 3 SUNDAY'S WEATHER FORECAST 2/23/2020

Thumbnail for the video titled "LOCAL 3 SUNDAY'S WEATHER FORECAST 2/23/2020"

LOCAL 3 SATURDAY'S WEATHER FORECAST 2/22/2020

Thumbnail for the video titled "LOCAL 3 SATURDAY'S WEATHER FORECAST 2/22/2020"

LOCAL 3 FRIDAY OVERNIGHT WEATHER FORECAST 2/21/2020

Thumbnail for the video titled "LOCAL 3 FRIDAY OVERNIGHT WEATHER FORECAST 2/21/2020"