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Preparing Your Child for a Hospital Stay

October 23, 2018

Preparing Your Child for a Hospital Stay

What can you say, and when should you say it, if your child has to go to the hospital?

Surgery can be scary, particularly for young patients. Many hospitals try to provide services to help parents and children prepare for a hospital stay. But you know your child better than anyone else, so use these guidelines and fit them to your child’s age and level of understanding.

  • For younger children, it is probably best to discuss the visit with them only a day or two in advance. Older children should be given as much notice as possible and should be invited to ask questions. They should be given as truthful and non-threatening answers as possible. Ask them to repeat back to you what they have heard so you can be sure they fully understand what you said.
  • Children should be encouraged to help with their preparations. Giving the child the opportunity to select what they would like to bring with them, who should be invited to visit, what they will wear to and from the hospital, will give them a sense of control over a new and unfamiliar situation.
  • Ask if the hospital has resources to help with the preparations. Do they offer online videos or conversations with social workers who are specially trained to deal with young patients?
  • If possible you and the child should visit the space beforehand. Many hospitals offer these kinds of tours. This could help make the environment less threatening – especially if they are able to meet pleasant members of their care team.

This Saturday, October 27th, White Plains Hospital will sponsor their annual Ted E. Bear Hospital. Guests will start in the Hospital Lobby on Davis Avenue at East Post Road, White Plains. Children are invited to dress in their Halloween costumes and to bring their stuffed animals to be “treated” for a variety of “boo-boos” by the Hospital’s medical team. They will also have the opportunity to tour the Hospital and to learn about health and safety topics. For more information, visit