Three Tips to Comfort Your Child


A child on his mom's lap talking to a nurse

Parents and caregivers play a vital role in reducing the pain and anxiety that may be caused by medical procedures.  At Shriners Hospitals for Children, child life specialists recommend using these 3 strategies to ease stress and comfort your child.

1. Comfort Positions

Control is the key to cooperation and how you hold your child can maximize their sense of control and cooperation during medical procedures. Here are three examples of how to hold your child in a comforting position.

A child on his mom's lap talking to a nurse

A child on his mom's lap talking to a nurse

2. Coping Techniques

  • Speak in a calm voice
  • Praise your child
  • Rub your child’s arm, forehead or cheek
  • Position yourself so that your child can see and touch you
  • Be honest
  • Hold your child’s hand
  • Provide distraction as appropriate

3. One Voice

  • One voice should be heard during the procedure.
  • Need for parental involvement
  • Educate the patient before the procedure about what is going to happen
  • Validate a child with your words
  • Offer the patient the most comfortable, non-threatening position
  • Individualize your game plan
  • Choose appropriate distraction/coping techniques to be used
  • Eliminate unnecessary staff who are not actively involved with the procedure

For procedures big and small, the Child Life team is always ready to help our patients and families.

Child Life specialists engage kids before and after surgery and during the recovery process. They introduce coping strategies and distraction therapy to put play into the child’s hospital stay.   Experts in child development, child life specialists work in partnership with doctors, nurses and other health professionals to introduce age-appropriate play and education that meets the emotional, developmental and cultural needs of each patient. Child Life specialists promote family-centered care by providing support to families of kids in the hospital.