HTC has suffered from tonsillitis since he was very little and the decision has now been made to remove them. He is old enough to explain what his hospital visit will entail so we thought we would share our top tips on preparing a child for an operation or hospital visit with you-
1. Don’t tell your child too soon. We told HTC two weeks before so he had a few days before starting his antibiotics then the ten day count down began.
2. Involve them as much as you can e.g. let them help pack their own bag.
3. Talk them through what you know will happen but if there are things you’re unsure of don’t say anything.
4. Make sure you know all the details. You don’t want the day to be stressful for them so be organised – know when they can last eat and have everything prepared the night before.
5. If possible take them beforehand to the hospital where the operation will be, even if it’s just to drive past.
6. Be prepared for lots of different scenarios. We took several changes of pyjamas and comforters in case of sickness or bleeding after op.
7. Keep them entertained. There may be lots of hanging about in a hospital bed before and after so take some new sticker books and games – or ones that have been at the back of the wardrobe for a while.
8. Prepare yourself. Don’t forgot you will need extra clothes, a toothbrush, snacks and phone plus charger and tissues. It can be very emotional for everyone involved.
9. If you’re allowed, arrange someone to come and switch with you so you can get out for a cuppa at some point.
10. Talk about your visit each day in the run up to going, but always keep it positive and light. Do explain that your child is going to feel so much better after the op.
11. If there are things which have happened before and you know will happen again, talk about that. Every time HTC is admitted he has his blood taken he talks about getting his scratch and how he likes Olly to do it. Olly won’t be at the op so we have discussed this several times so he is more prepared on the day.
12. HTC is 3.5 so we put the iPad in the crook of his elbow of the arm they will put the cannula into – they do it all behind the iPad as he watches it.
13. If you have other children ensure you have sufficient cover for them as things don’t always run on time.
14. Don’t leave other children out of the preparations. Make sure they know where their brother/sister is as they will miss them too.
15. Read scenario books. Topsy and Tim go to hospital has been a firm favourite for us.
16. Role play. Get the doctors kit out and go through wee scenarios explain how your child may feel when having the anaesthetic and talk to them about how a nurse will be there when they first wake up.
17. Dress a favourite doll or teddy up in a wee set of scrubs.
18. Don’t forget to prepare yourself as well. It will be very emotional but try to hold it together until after your little one has gone under so as not to add extra stress to them.