Preparing your child for a visit

Your child is likely to be anxious or nervous about a hospital stay or surgery. As a parent, you may not be sure what to say to your child and when to say it.

Age-appropriate information can relieve stress by taking some of the mystery out of what’s going to happen and give your child a better sense of involvement in the plans.

Our child life therapists are available to help your child and family better understand what’s going to happen and help prepare your child for their hospital experience.

Children who get an explanation about the procedure tend to be less fearful and anxious. With a greater understanding of what’s happening and their role, children tend to be better at following the provider’s instructions.

Provide accurate information and try to do it in gentlest possible language. Tell your child the purpose of the procedure, the anticipated sequence of events and how long it will take. You, your medical team or child life therapists may also be able to tell your child what they’ll see, hear, feel or smell.

Top tip for parents

When explaining anything about the hospital or a procedure, be honest with your child.

Don’t tell your child that a painful procedure isn’t going to hurt. Try to describe what they’re going to feel. For instance, when inserting an IV or giving a shot, a child life therapist usually tells the patient that it will feel similar to a bee sting.

There are age-specific steps you can take to help with pain.

If you don’t know the answer to a question your child asks, be honest and let them know you don’t know.

Plan Your Visit -5437

Baby elephant’s name to be unveiled by toddler with a new heart

In Eli Alexander’s 23 months of life, he has overcome a congenital heart defect with the help of a heart transplant. His family has taken to comparing his strength and bravery to an elephant’s. It […]

Read Full Story

Courageous Clay gets his heart transplant follow-up visits closer to home in Bowling Green

Nicole Pendino has a courageous son. In fact, his nickname is “Courageous Clay.” Many members of his hometown community in Bowling Green, Kentucky, have rallied around him over the past 12 years. In 2017 when […]

Read Full Story

What is RSV in children?

You’re in line for day care pickup and discover that your child’s classmate has respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis. What does this mean for your child? Your pediatrician’s office is closed, and you’re unsure of […]

Read Full Story

What’s the difference between elephant and human child development?

We love babies of all kinds at Norton Children’s. Mikki, the Louisville Zoo’s 33-year-old African elephant, gave birth Aug. 2 to a bull calf. Mikki’s pregnancy lasted 22 months (651 days). The soon-to-be named calf […]

Read Full Story

How to prevent bullying

About 20% of students ages 12 to 18 experience some kind of bullying, according to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics. The highest numbers of students who are bullied are made […]

Read Full Story

Search our entire site.