Metro Health’s Child Life program offers helpful advice to parents in preparing their child (infant through teenager), the child’s siblings, and parents for a procedure at or visit to the hospital. If you have other children at home, remember that the hospitalization of their brother or sister affects them, too. Not only are the child and siblings affected, but parents need to know how to take care of themselves and how to prepare mentally and physically for a child’s hospital procedure.
Click here to see how to prepare your child from infant stage through school-age for a visit to the hospital.
Helping Brothers and Sisters Understand the Hospital Experience:
- Be extra patient and tell them you love them – often.
- Calm their fears. Let them know that they will always be cared for, and so will their hospitalized brother or sister.
- As a family, find ways to help brothers and sisters stay involved. Siblings could draw a picture to hang in the patient’s room, bring a book from home to read, or a special toy they know the hospitalized child enjoys.
- If possible, bring them to the hospital for a short visit. The visit will be a chance for them to see where you and their brohter or sister are staying. Regular “family time” is very important. We have games, cards, puzzles, books, crafts, etc. to share. Let us know how we can help.
- If your children need to learn more about this hospitalization process, or be prepared in a special way to visit their sibling, a Child Life Specialist can provide support.
- After your hospital experience is over, schedule some alone time with each child. He or she may need your help to understand their family situation, answer questions and talk about the way they feel.
The Metro Health Hospital Child Life Program is completely funded through donations to the Metro Health Hospital Foundation.
To contact a Child Life Specialist, please call (616) 252-7946