BACKGROUND: Parents play a very important role in preparing children for what to expect before and after surgery. If children are well prepared, they will have a better surgical experience.
Child Life Specialist Chantelle Bennett, says research shows one of the best ways to reduce a child's anxiety is to let them know what will happen, before it happens. Of course, she says, it needs to be tailored to their age and developmental level. Many hospitals offer a pre-operative tour and can help you and your child prepare for surgery.
One mistake to avoid is not telling your child anything. Bennett says sometimes parents try to not worry the child and don't tell them about the surgery. It can be even more traumatic if they are taken to the hospital and don't know why.
AHEAD OF TIME: Knowing what will happen will help reduce their fears.
AFTER SURGERY: After surgery, your child will likely be transported to the recovery room for close observation and care. Your child may waken quickly or may sleep for quite some time after surgery. This is not unusual as each child reacts differently to anesthesia.
Once your child is awake, you will be able to stay with your child until they are ready to leave the recovery room. Plan on your child being in the recovery room for at least one hour. Make sure you have explained to them ahead of time where they will be when they wake up from anesthesia and let them know that you will be there.
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