Talking To Your Children About Surgery

It is very important that you take time to prepare your child for a visit to surgery. Here are some general guidelines to help you discuss what is going to happen and what your child can expect.

Be honest

Explain the procedure in clear, simple terms. Tell your child as much as you know about what is going to happen.

Team up with experts

Ask your child's doctor for information or call a Child Life Specialist at The Children's Hospital at Providence at 212-3014 for help in preparing your child. There are many children's books available about surgery and hospitals. Read to your youngster.

Use dolls or stuffed animals as sounding boards.

Using toys for role-playing allows children to express their innermost fears about an upcoming procedure. Sometimes it is helpful for your child to select a special toy to bring along as a friend on the day of the procedure.

Listen carefully

Listen for questions behind questions. For example, if your child asks, "Will I be able to play when I come home?" what your child may really be asking is "Will I ever be able to play again." By listening carefully, you can provide answers that will take some of the stress and worry out of the situation.

Let your child pack

Allow your child to choose special clothes or even pajamas to wear the day of the procedure. Allow your child to bring a favorite blanket, toy or slippers to surround the child with familiar, comfortable objects.

Stay nearby during the procedure

Children often awaken from anesthesia more quickly than adults. Please stay in the waiting area so you are readily available when your doctor and child want to see you.