When you’re young, surgery can be a mysterious, even frightening process. That’s why preparing your child for surgery is so important to ensure a good experience for the entire family.
Developing minds may not quite grasp the reasons or understand the reason surgery is needed. Lack of understanding can lead to fear.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
The key is to talk to them. Let your child know that they have the support of your whole family. Most importantly, let them know that doctors and nurses in our pediatric surgery center are there to help.
We’ve provided the following useful tips to help you talk to your child about their upcoming procedure.
How to Prepare Your Child for Surgery
Explain Why the Surgery Is Needed
Explain why your child needs the surgery. Just be sure that you use words they can understand.
Be cautious: don’t use frightening words. Phrases like “the surgeon will open you up” or “doctors will cut you,” could alarm them.
Instead, explain that their problem will be fixed at the hospital and that many children have had surgery. This ensures that they don’t feel alone.
Talk About What to Expect
Your child may be uncomfortable after surgery or when an IV line is inserted. Give them an idea of what to expect. Be honest, yet gentle.
You’ll find that children are typically able to cope more effectively if they have an idea of what will be happening while they are at the hospital. Reassure them that you will be with them.
Always Tell the Truth
There are two important reasons why you should tell the truth.
First, if your child knows what to expect, they’ll be less anxious. If you don’t tell them the truth, they’ll be less likely to trust you if they need additional procedures in the future.
Second, it helps create a positive relationship between our health care workers and your child.
For example, let your child know if there will be a procedure that will make them uncomfortable. Assure them that the doctors and nurses have done this procedure many times on other children.
Model Good Behavior
If you are panicked and uneasy, your child will be too. Therefore, we recommend asking us questions so we can address any concerns you have. When you know the answers, you can share them with your son or daughter.
We want this to be a positive experience for both you and your child.
Be Careful of the Words You Use
Remember that children may think words have different meanings from the message you’re trying to convey.
For example, when talking about anesthesia, telling them that they’ll “be given gas” may make them think of gasoline that’s put into a car. Telling them they’ll be “put to sleep” may bring back bad memories of a sick pet that died.
Every child is different, and that’s why it’s so important to gear your communication to what works for them.
The Most Common Procedures at Our Pediatric Surgery Center
Several of the most common procedures can be easily performed on an outpatient basis. These include:
However, in certain cases, procedures and surgeries require a hospital stay. These may include:
- Treatment for cancer
- Surgery for GERD
- Treating serious fractures
- Removing the appendix
- Surgery to treat scoliosis
- Hernia repair
About Our Pediatric Center
Children aren’t small adults. Our pediatric experts know this, and we’ve taken every aspect into account when we designed our Pediatric Center. It’s designed to be appealing to children and to enable us to provide a detailed, comprehensive care plan for your child.
Our center features experienced, compassionate pediatric hospitalists, nurses who work with your pediatrician. We also have a playroom for young patients.
Conway Medical Center: We Place Your Child’s Needs First
For decades, we’ve provided quality care for all of our patients in a safe and healing environment. We welcome the privilege of caring for your child and helping you prepare them for surgery.
We’ll always take the time to answer your questions and address any concerns you have about any procedures or treatments.
Contact us to schedule an appointment with our pediatric services today.