Medical appointments, procedures, tests and surgery can lead to anxiety and questions in children of all ages. We want to support you in feeling as prepared as possible.
Before your visit, ask your provider to give you a complete explanation of your child’s upcoming examination, test or procedure. Find out what role you can play in distracting and comforting your child. Some tests and procedures might require that you be separated from your child for some time. Others might allow you to be present to provide physical and emotional support.
Asking your provider what to expect―and what typically works best for children―will help you feel prepared. You can also schedule a hospital tour and education session to help you and your child understand what to expect during your visit.
Infants need to feel love and security to be at ease. Staying in close contact with your baby, whenever possible, is one of the best ways to alleviate discomfort and anxiety.
Some ideas for distracting and comforting your baby include:
Toddlers can differentiate among people who are familiar to them and those who are not. As a result, they can begin to show stranger anxiety. Staying in close contact, whenever possible, is one of the best ways to alleviate discomfort and anxiety.
Some ideas for distracting and comforting your toddler include:
Children in this age group are developing imaginative and magical thinking. They might resist procedures and become quiet, clingy or emotional when they’re experiencing stress or anxiety.
Some ideas for distracting and comforting your preschooler include:
Comfort Tips for School-Age Children (6 – 12 years)
School-age children are beginning to understand and be interested in how the body functions. Children this age can have many questions about what will happen during a test or procedure. They are developing a stronger sense of independence and enjoy having choices, when possible.
Some ideas for distracting and comforting your school-age child include:
Teens are developing an increased sense of self-identity and a stronger need for privacy. Honor your teen’s need to ask questions in order to understand what will happen during tests and procedures.
Some ideas for distracting and comforting your teen include:
When a brother or sister goes to the hospital or needs medical care, siblings often have many questions and can experience anxiety. They might feel left out and jealous of the time parents spend with their sibling. If they need to stay with relatives during a hospital stay, the unfamiliar routines and surroundings can lead to stress.
Some preparation and education tips include:
If you must be away from home to stay with a child at the hospital, try to maintain daily contact with your other child or children. You can encourage connections by:
For more help preparing your child or children for a hospital stay or medical care, consider scheduling a hospital tour and education session. For more information or to schedule a tour, call Child and Family Services at 651-229-3855.