Hospitalization can be a stressful time for both you and your
child. Your feelings about the hospitalization can affect your
child’s emotions and behaviors, so remember to speak positively
around your child when discussing the upcoming stay at Shriners
Hospital. Honesty will be important to your child. Be sure to
have all your questions answered by your child’s physician. The
unknown of the hospital environment can be frightening. By
helping your child prepare, you can make the hospital experience
a positive one.
Read stories or watch videos with your child about going to
Encourage doctor play. Allow your child to talk about their
thoughts and feelings.
Allow your child to help pack. Let them choose a few favorite
items to bring to the hospital.
Know what is comforting to your child and share those methods
with the staff members helping to care for your child.
Three Tips to Comfort Your Child
Have your teen speak with someone who has had a similar
Encourage your teen to maintain contact with family and friends
through visits, phone calls, email or mail.
Have your teen pack for the hospital stay. Remind your teen to
include both special and personal items – pictures of family
and friends, music. Please leave valuables at home.
Hospitalization can also be a stressful event for brothers and
sisters at home. Their day-to-day routine may be altered with the
absence of a caregiver. Brothers and sisters may experience
feelings of isolation. To ease potential anxiety, please remember
Encourage siblings’ understanding of hospitalization;
Encourage contact between siblings and the child in the hospital.
Continue to provide understanding and reassurance for the
siblings at home.
Preparing your child for surgery
Preparing your child for surgery can be an important step to
minimizing the anxiety that he/she may feel about having a
surgical procedure, especially if it is your child’s first time
having surgery. Shriners offers pre-operative tours for you
and your child to help familiarize yourself with this hospital
and the surgery unit, so on the day of surgery there is less to
worry about. A child life specialist can help explain the
surgery process to your child in a way that is non-threatening,
and can help answer a lot of questions that your child may be
afraid to ask.
To schedule a pre-op tour or to speak with a child life
specialist about your child’s surgery, please
call: (916) 453-2000 ext 3316
When there is no time to prepare
Hospitalization can be sudden when your child has been injured.
Having little or no time to prepare for the experiences and not
knowing what to expect can be overwhelming. Children can
experience distress related to unplanned events. You can help
your child through this difficult time.
Be honest. Answer your child’s questions
openly and honestly. Remain supportive. You are your child’s
source of comfort and love. Ask questions. Be sure to have a clear
understanding of your child’s hospitalization. Share with staff what is comforting to your
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