How to Prepare Your Child for Medical Procedures

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The fear of the unknown is often cause for anxiety with an upcoming medical procedure. Whether your child is a baby or a teen, she might express fear or anxiety if she needs medical care beyond a basic doctor’s visit. Preparation for surgeries, testing or other medical procedures helps your child cope with the situation. Giving her information about what will happen gives her a chance to process it and ask any questions for a less stressful procedure.

Step 1

Find out the details of the medical procedure in advance. Ask any questions to clarify so you know what to expect, which allows you to better prepare your child for what he will experience.

Step 2

Explain the procedure to your child a few days before it happens to give her a chance to work through any anxieties. Use general explanations to avoid scaring your child with the details. For example, you might say the doctor is going to fix the problem without going into detail about the actual details of the procedure.

Step 3

Ask your child if he has any questions about the procedure. Reassure your child that he won’t feel pain during the procedure if he is having surgery. Let him know that you will stay with him as much as possible during the procedure.

Step 4

Visit the hospital or clinic where the procedure will take place if possible. The facility might offer special tours for patients so the child has a chance to become familiar with it before the actual procedure. Encourage her to ask any questions about the things she sees on the visit.

Step 5

Pack a special bag of your child’s favorite things, such as books or stuffed animals. Let your child help pack the bag. Take the bag along for the procedure as a source of comfort and distraction.

Step 6

Provide emotional support to your child leading up to the procedure. Physical comfort through hugs and cuddling might also help depending on your child.

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