Surgery is a stressful time for anyone, even adults who have undergone surgical procedures before. However, when children must undergo surgery, it becomes even more stressful and complicated. Children often fear pain, the unknown, needles, and more when they undergo surgery. Although preparing a child for surgery can be difficult, there are a number of things a parent can do to help their child feel more relaxed and prepared for their procedure.
Be Honest and Candid
It’s important to be honest with a child about what is going to happen to them and why. Explaining the procedure and why it is happening will help a child be more willing to listen to a stranger and reduce fear of the unknown. It’s important that they understand that surgery is to help them, not hurt them.
Explain in Ways They Understand
Children often don’t understand body parts and their functions in the same way that adults do. As a result, using typical terms and explanations about surgery won’t do them any good. It’s important to explain surgery to children in a way they understand. Consider giving a child a surgery coloring book or a short story to help them better understand.
Stay Open for Questions
Children often think of surprisingly profound questions. Although these questions may be difficult to answer, it’s important that a child realizes that it’s alright to have questions and concerns. Answer their questions to the best of your abilities, having compassion and bringing them comfort as much as possible.
Give Infants Familiarity
Infants present with a whole new set of challenges when it comes to preparing them for surgery. Frequently, it is the parents who require the most information and support. Infants may also be anxious due to a new environment. To keep them calm and comfortable, parents can bring a favorite toy or blanket.
Pediatric surgery is a stressful time for the whole family. Parents may be concerned for their child’s health while children may feel stress from a new environment or fear pain and the unknown. It’s important to comfort the child by keeping their favorite toys close and providing information and answers to questions.