Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy

Preparing Your Child for Hospitalization and Medical Procedures

Hospitalization, and medical procedures can be very stressful for children of all ages. Preparing children ahead of time for the things they may experience in the hospital will reduce much of their anxiety and will help them cope and trust you and the people they meet in the hospital.

Tips for preparing your child at any age

It is not uncommon to see changes in your child's behavior before, during or after hospitalization. Children’s responses to hospitalization and medical procedures will differ, depending on their age, the procedures they are having done and their past experiences.

Child life staff offer age-appropriate preparation for medical procedures

Child life staff are available in all inpatient and most outpatient areas to prepare your child prior to a medical procedure. Staff use age-appropriate language and teaching materials, including dolls, photo books and real medical equipment. Contact your child life specialist, or call 215-590-2001, for more information about having your child prepared by a child life specialist.

Day surgery tours

Child life staff offer pre-operative preparation prior to your child's day surgery experience. Day surgery tours include age-appropriate education and a tour of the surgical areas. To schedule a tour for your child, please contact the day surgery child life specialist at 215-590-3836.

If you are unable to come to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for a tour prior to the day of surgery, visit, our website for kids, to view an animated pre-operative tour.

Tips for playing with your child by age






Contact us

The Child Life staff is available to help answer any questions you may have about helping your child prepare for hospitalization or surgery. Please call 215-590-2001 or e-mail for more information.

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