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Preparing Your Toddler For A Visit To The Hospital

A visit to the hospital can be a nightmare for most toddlers. But with the support of parents, children can feel more at ease during hospital visits. Follow these tips to help your toddler have a positive hospital experience.

Keep Your Cool

It is normal for you to feel anxious about taking your toddler to the hospital. However, your toddler can sense your apprehension and make him more afraid. Thus, it is important for you to stay calm so you can help your toddler during his visit to the hospital. Share your worries with a friend or relative if this is the only way you can relax.

Talk About It

It is also very essential that you prep your toddler ahead of time. Explain what a hospital is, talk about what will happen and who will be there. Use words your little one can understand. Keep your explanation brief but clear. For example, if the two of you are going to the hospital for a routine check-up, tell your toddler that the doctor just wants to make sure he is healthy and strong. Welcome questions and answer them truthfully. Watch videos and read books about a toddler’s first hospital visit. Learning as much information as he can not only helps him prepare for the trip but also wards off any misinformation he may have heard.

Take A Hospital Tour

Part of preparing your toddler for a visit to the hospital is taking a tour of the building. Most pediatric units offer group and individual tours to acquaint children with the hospital atmosphere. Your toddler can get to know the staff, use the playroom (if there is one) or participate in “medical play” where he can touch and see equipments in the hospital.

Turn It Into A Game

Why not role play this event. Pretend play is very effective in providing children comfort and understanding about difficult situations. Purchase a toy stethoscope or a medical kit and play “going to the hospital” with your little one. He can examine his teddy or the two of you can take turns playing doctor and patient.

Bring Comfort Items

When it is time to go, do not just pack the essentials but bring one or two loveys such as a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, book, game, pajamas or a small album of family photos. Giving your toddler something to play with that reminds him of home will make him feel safe.

Stay With Your Toddler

Staying by his side is probably the most comforting thing you can do. Cuddle and talk to your little one. If you have to leave, make sure you tell your toddler where you will go and when you will be back. Reassure him that the hospital is a safe place, that the doctors and nurses will not hurt him and that he can go home once he gets better.

Although you will not be able to relieve all your toddler’s fears of visiting hospitals, you can help change his outlook by being honest, considerate and prepared.

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November 2017
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