Preparing Your Family for the Hospital
Metro Health’s Child Life Program offers helpful advice to parents in preparing their child (infant through teenager), the child’s siblings, and themselves 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. As a parent, you need to know how to take care of yourself as well, and how to prepare your family for the hospital mentally and physically.
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 your child’s siblings to the hospital for a short visit. It will be a chance for them to see where you and their brother 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 the hospital experience is over, schedule some alone time with each child. He or she may need your help to understand the family situation, have questions answered, and to talk about the way they feel.