Recognizing and Managing Pain in Your School-age Child

How do I recognize pain in my school-age child?

School-age children may display different behaviors when they are in pain or uncomfortable. Your child may:

  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Not eat or drink as much as usual
  • Cry or moan
  • Lose interest in play
  • Become less active, lie quietly, curl up in bed
  • Be restless
  • Complain of pain
  • Hold or protect the area of discomfort

How do I help my school-age child manage pain?

Comfort your school-age child

Some suggestions include:

  • Dimming the lights.
  • Staying with your school-age child as much as possible. If you need to leave, prepare your child by telling her you are leaving 5-10 minutes before you go. Let her know when you will return.
  • Letting your nurse know what will calm your child while you are away.
  • Bringing your school-age child’s favorite toys and objects from home.
  • Providing quiet time.
  • Talking in a soothing voice.

Use touch to provide comfort

You can:

  • Hold your school-age child.
  • Massage your child’s back.
  • Hold your school-age child’s hand.
  • Offer hugs to your child.

Help your school-age child focus on something other than pain

Encourage your child to:

  • Listen to her favorite music.
  • Blow bubbles.
  • Take slow, deep breaths.
  • Read a book.
  • Talk about a favorite place or memory.
  • Play a game or watch TV.
  • Do art projects, draw, or color.

If you have any questions, please ask your child’s doctor, nurse, or child life specialist.

Contact us

For more information about the Pain Management Program at CHOP or to schedule an appointment, please call 215-590-1409.

Reviewed by: The Pain Management Program team
Date: August 2012

August 2012