Preparing Your Child for Surgery
The idea of undergoing surgery can be frightening for children as well as adults. Good preparation can help kids feel less anxious about the anesthesia and surgery and get through the recovery period faster. Here are some suggestions for easing any anxiety your child may have before undergoing a surgical procedure.
- Provide information about the procedure at your child’s level of understanding, correct any misunderstandings, and dispel any fears.
- Allow your child to share his or her fears and let them know it’s OK to feel afraid; take all questions seriously and answer them to the best of your ability.
- If you don’t know an answer, tell your child that you’ll find it out, and explain that the doctors and nurses are happy to answer questions, too.
- Compare the time your child will be in surgery to the length of a favorite cartoon or video.
- Explain that you’ll be there when your child wakes up; sometimes it helps to bring a favorite toy.
- Tell your child that if anything hurts right after the operation, a doctor or nurse can give medication that will make it feel better.
- Remember, the messages conveyed by your tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures and body language can be more powerful than words.