Before Your Visit > Talking with Your Child
Coming to the hospital may be a little frightening and stressful for you and your child. St. Christopher's Hospital for Children offers services to help you prepare your child for his or her hospital stay.
Here are some tips for talking to your child about visiting the hospital:
- Be honest with your child and explain the reasons why he or she is going to the hospital.
- Many younger children view the hospital or a painful procedure as a punishment for something they may have done wrong. Let your child know that is not the reason for the visit.
- Have your child bring along a favorite toy or stuffed animal.
- Encourage your child to ask questions and express his or her feelings.
- Let your child know whether you will be staying with him or her at the hospital. If you are not able to stay, let your child and staff know when you will be coming back to visit.
When should you tell your child they are coming to the hospital?
This depends on your child's age:
- A younger child under 3 years old should be told two or three days before scheduled admission or surgery.
- A child between 4 and 7 years old should be told four to seven days before he or she comes to the hospital.
- An older child should be told a few weeks before and encouraged to participate in the decision making about his or her care.