Preparing Your School-age Child for a Surgical Experience
If your school-age child is having surgery, you'll be better able to prepare him if you know what he's worried about and how you can help.
What is your child concerned about?
He's worried about losing control, as well as saying or doing embarrassing things
He fears his body will be damaged and that surgery will change the way he looks
He's scared he'll wake up during the surgery
How can you help prepare your school-age child?
Give him a good bit of prep time, at least one to two weeks ahead. Offer details about events before, during and after surgery. Explain there's a special doctor whose job is to make sure that patients do not feel anything during the procedure.
Be supportive and honest, and treat your child as normally as possible. He may become angry or quiet in anticipation of surgery; that's normal. Reassure him and encourage him to talk about what he's feeling.
Read all about it. Find an age-appropriate book about going to the hospital and read it with him.
Check for understanding. School-age children will listen carefully, but may not understand all that was said, so have your child explain back to you what's going to happen in the hospital.
Involve friends. Encourage your child's friends to visit the hospital, or to keep in touch with your child via telephone, text, email and cards.
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability or protected veteran status.