Helping Your Child Cope With Pain After Surgery

A parent's love and comfort are often just as important as — and sometimes even more important than — any pain medication the healthcare team can give your child. You know your child and what comforts and calms her best. Be sure to tell your child's caregivers what your child likes and doesn't like.

Here are a few suggestions to start:

  • Touch is important. All children need to be held, stroked and touched by those who are most important to them. Ask for help from the nursing staff if you would like to hold your child, but aren't exactly sure how to go about it because of equipment or bandages.
  • Play can help. It's a familiar part of your child's day. It can help relieve tension for both of you, and can also provide distraction that helps your child feel better. Bring storybooks, coloring books, puzzles, board games, handheld video games (if allowed) and other toys she can use in bed. If your child is able to get out of bed, ask if the hospital has a playroom she can use.
  • Watch and listen. Ask if a VCR is available, so your child can watch movies or children's entertainment programs. Music can also be very comforting. Try a portable CD or cassette player with headphones.
  • Get help. Ask to speak with one of the hospital's child life specialists, who may be able to offer additional coping strategies for your child. If your child has surgery at the Main Hospital, child life specialists are on site. Some of the Ambulatory Surgery Centers also have child life specialists on site; otherwise, you can call 215-590-2001 and ask to speak with a child life specialists over the phone.

You can also use the following resources to help you recognize pain in your child and help her cope, no matter her age:

Next Steps