There are so many tough situations parents of special needs children experience. One of the toughest is having to see your child spend time in the hospital, especially for extended stays.
It's extremely difficult to explain to kids why we as parents voluntarily take them to a place where they have to wear weird nightgowns that show your rear-end and let grown-ups in strange white coats poke and prod at them for days on end. However, for many parents with special needs kids, trips to the hospital are inevitable. Today, we're going to help those of you who may soon be experiencing this very situation with your own child by providing a few tips on how to prepare your child for their hospital stays. This advice comes from other parents just like you with kids with special needs. It's my hope that you will come away from reading this with just a little less anxiety about your child's upcoming visit to the hospital.
One of the best ways to teach your children about various life experiences is by reading it to them in a book. Hospital trips are no different, and luckily, there are some fantastic children's stories out there that are designed to help kids prepare for their own stay in the hospital. Books like “What's In a Doctor's Bag?” by Nell Shulman and Sibley Fleming and “Going to the Hospital” by Anna Cirvadi are fantastic stories that give children true ideas of what their trip to the hospital will be like.
In every toy store or toy section of a big box store like Target or Walmart, is a toy doctor kit and figurines dressed to depict doctors and nurses. Several moms in my online circle encourage others to invest in some of these medical-related toys as tools to teach your child about what they can expect at the hospital. Show your child how to play doctor with some of his or her stuffed animals or dolls. Teach them the name of each tool found in their toy doctor kit. Understanding what some of those strange looking contraptions are helps tremendously with easing kid's anxiety about doctors.
If your child is going into the hospital, and you know they're going to have blood work or an IV inserted, be honest with them about the chance of brief pain that comes from the stick of a needle. Have them count to ten then explain how the pain from a needle last less than ten seconds. No matter the circumstance, it's never a good idea to lie to your children, no matter how scary the truth may be.
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