Supporting Your Child When They Need Surgery: Practical Tips for Parents

Posted December 20, 2022 by in Lifestyle
child with doctor

If your child needs surgery – whether unexpectedly, or because of a long-term health condition – it can be a very stressful and anxious time, both for them and for you. As a parent, you are probably desperate to reassure your child, and to help them get through the procedure and their recovery as smoothly as possible. 

With that aim in mind, here are some helpful tips to guide you, as you prepare to provide much-needed support for your child, both before and after their surgery. 

child with doctor

Ask as Many Questions as You Need

The prospect of a medical procedure is always intimidating, particularly if it involves surgery. Both you and your child will probably be filled with fear and doubt, not to mention all kinds of questions. 

Because knowledge of what is going to happen – and why – can help to alleviate anxiety, it’s a good idea to discuss any and all concerns that you may have with your child’s medical team; they will probably be more than happy to answer your queries and put you and your child more at ease. 

Having the right information will probably help both you and your child to relax and feel more confident as the date of the surgery approaches. 

Stay Calm

Even though you are probably feeling very nervous at the thought of your child undergoing surgery, it’s vital that you don’t reveal your anxiety to your child, even by accident. In their presence, do your best to remain calm, upbeat and reassuring. They will take their emotional cues from you, so if you show them that you are not worried, this will help them to feel calmer in their turn. 

If the surgery is unexpected and urgent, it can be very difficult to keep your nerves from showing, and it’s possible that your child will become panicky. In this situation, it’s vital that you remain a calm, strong, and soothing presence, to ease their fears and reassure them that everything will be okay and they will get through this, with the support and care of you and their medical team.  

Choose Your Words Carefully

If your child is asking you detailed questions about the surgery and what it will involve, it’s important that you select your words with care, particularly if they are on the young side. 

For example, when discussing the anaesthetic, you may want to avoid using phrases such as ‘put to sleep’, particularly if you have had any pets that were put down, as this may confuse or even frighten your young child.

You should also speak as delicately as you can when referring to the actual procedure. Avoid any potentially frightening language, such as ‘cut’. This probably goes without saying, but you should do your best to make the whole process sound as routine and non-invasive as possible, to reassure your child. 

Encourage Them to Rest

In the lead-up to the surgery, it’s vital that your child gets as much rest as possible. Spend as much quality time with them as you can, and encourage them to sleep, or, at least, to relax as much as they are able. 

Allow them to listen to their favourite music or watch their favourite television shows to help calm them down and put them in a positive frame of mind. 

Make Them Comfortable

Before and after the surgery, your child will be receiving the best of care from their medical team and the nurses on their ward, but you can still help to make them comfortable by bringing their favourite items from home. 

When they are able to eat and drink, you can also bring their preferred drinks and snacks, and perhaps even some extra cushions from home to help them get comfortable on their hospital bed. 

The best assistance you can give, however, is just being there, by their side, reassuring them and showing them how much you love them. 

Invest in Mobility Aids if Required

Depending on their condition and the type of surgery they require, it may not be possible for your child to be up and about for several weeks or even months.

If this is the case, then it may be worth investing in mobility aids to help them get out and about, particularly if they had an operation that will take some time to heal. 

Fortunately, finding the right aids to suit their needs won’t be difficult. From crutches and wheelchairs to mobility scooters for autonomous movement, reputable and experienced providers such as Mobility Solutions have a wide range of options to choose from.  

Help Them to Stay Focused and Positive

Finally, one of the most important and productive things you can do for your child after their surgery is to encourage them to remain positive and focused on their recovery. 

While you can aid them on a physical level by helping them with gentle stretches, a significant part of the recovery process is psychological. Help them to feel like themselves again through laughter, encouragement, positivity, and reminding them how proud you are of their strength and courage. 

With your love and support, hopefully it will be no time at all before they are back to their old selves.