How can you best prepare a child who has to go for a stay in hospital?

Hospitals can be bewildering for a child
Hospitals can be bewildering for a child

Most children will need to visit a hospital for some reason or another and we know they have better experiences if they are prepared for what it will be like.

It is great if children can learn in a relaxed way about what happens in hospital and who the people are they may meet before they need to visit.

As a parent or carer you know your child best and there are lots of ways you can help your child to feel less worried during a procedure. Some top tips to parents to prepare their child for a hospital visit are:-

· Make sure you understand what will happen before your child’s procedure. You can contact the department your child is due to attend or check out information about procedures on reputable pages on the internet like on What? Why? Children in Hospital ( https://www.whatwhychildreninhospital.org.uk/) and information on the webpages of a children’s hospital.

· Give your child simple and honest information about the procedure. Your child may want to talk about why the procedure is needed and how it will help, what may happen, where it will happen and what they might feel during a procedure.

· Decide with your child a few things to bring with them to help distract them before and during the procedure such as a book, toy, DVD, I-Pad.

· It is okay to ask health professionals ‘What can be done to help my child through their procedure?’

Researchers at Edge Hill University have created a new comic strip and animation to help children know what to expect and what might happen when they go to hospital.

The animations and comic books will be launched at a free fun event for children, parents and professionals at the university during half term on Thursday 21 st February between 1-4pm.

The event will involve, arts and craft activities, a play hospital and ward, chance to explore a virtual hospital ward, play an X-ray game and see the launch of the new children’s comic strip and animation called Children Coming to Hospital.

The tips have come from Professor Lucy Bray – Professor of child health literacy