Preparing Your Child For Surgery
The prospect of surgery and anaesthesia can be frightening for children.
What to Expect?
It's normal for both parents and children to feel a little nervous about the prospect of anaesthesia and surgery. By making this process fun and familiar it can reduce some of the expected anxiety a child may feel on the day.
We recommend talking to your child a few days in advance about what they can expect when they go to the hospital including the check in process, dressing into a hospital gown and wearing a hospital cap.
- BE RELAXED Try to stay as calm and relaxed as possible as children can sense when their parent is feeling uneasy and often mirror similar behaviour.
- EXPLAIN WHY Help your child understand the reason for surgery. If they are having tonsil surgery, you may wish to say that surgery will help your child get fewer sore throats.
- USE PLAY Use play items to teach your child about surgery. Children's books about the hospital and surgery can help. Toys like medical kits, surgical masks and scrub hats can be a fun way of familiarising children with the process and make them more comfortable with medical equipment. Encourage your child to use teddy bears, dolls, or stuffed animals as “patients”.
- GIVE CHOICES Let your child make choices. By giving your child options, like choosing what toys, activities or clothes to pack for the hospital, this will give them a sense of control.
- BRING A TOY Bring your child’s favourite item such as a toy or stuffed animal or security blanket with them to the hospital. This familiar object will make them feel safe.
- REASSURE Stay with your child as long as possible before surgery. Hospital staff will do all they can to reunite you with your child as soon as possible after surgery.