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Coping With the Hospital for Kids (page 2)

Coping With the Hospital for Kids

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Updated on May 29, 2014

Bring fun to the hospital.

“Go ahead and give your kids what they're asking for if you can,” says Phyllis Talbot, director of the Foundation for Children with Atypical HUS and a parent of a child who has required extensive hospitalization for a rare disease. “They can paint in bed and eat popsicles for novelty and to pass time. It's not rude to ask. Nurses are busy, but child life people are there just for that.”

Make the hospital seem like home.

Bring in favorite stuffed animals or pillows, and let your child bring them wherever she goes. Decorate the room. Eat dinner together as a family. Have family game night. Keep your child's schedule as normal as possible. Let your child be a child, even in the hospital.

Be compassionate.

It isn't easy, but if you can compose yourself, stay calm and be confident, you may be able to greatly reduce your child's anxiety. Hugging, holding, singing and telling stories can help children cope more effectively. Remember, you're the expert when it comes to comforting your child.

Go home and get your own rest.

Parents often want to stay with a sick child 24 hours a day, turning down help from other loved ones. For extended stays, though, this just isn’t practical. “If people offer to help, let them,” Talbot says. “People tried to bring me food and I'd ask them to wait until we were home when I'd really need it. You can order in to hospitals usually and let folks bring you takeout if you need it. If you can trade off, do it. Don't get sleep deprived.”

There's no perfect way to handle the hospital, even when you're all grown up. But if you keep these tips in mind, you're going to have a real leg up in the process.

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