Undergoing pediatric heart surgery can be a stressful process for the whole family, but can be downright scary for a child. Preparing your child for heart surgery can help calm both of you in the days before the procedure. Talking about the procedure, creating a safe space in their hospital room and being there for your child are all ways you can help prepare them for their pediatric heart surgery.
1. Talk Things Over
While your child’s age will temper the amount of detail and the language you use to talk to them about their surgery, the act of talking about it with them will help them to have a sense of control over what is happening.
Through understanding, people gain a type of power over circumstances and events they find themselves in. Allowing your child to explore all their questions and feelings about the surgery will give them the tools they need to process and take control of their fears and anxiety.
3. Create a Safe Space
The amount of time your child spends at the hospital will depend on what type of pediatric heart surgery they receive, but even a brief hospital stay can be made easier with the help of a few homey touches. Before leaving for the hospital, have your child pick out some favorite toys, clothes or other things from your house to bring along.
3. Call for Reinforcements
Having a stuffed animal or other cherished item can help bring even more of the safety of home in your child’s hospital room. Visits from friends and relatives are also an important part of maintaining your child’s sense of safety. While there will be times that you aren’t able to be at your child’s side, let them know that you’ll be close by.