Macsen’s hospital visit in January to remove play doh from his ear took me by surprise. I had absolutely no idea how to prepare him for it. Yes, we went through a lengthy hospital stay with Enfys but she was under 6 months. She didn’t really understand anything.
In the lead up to taking Macsen in, I prepared him for it in a number of ways. Here are my top 5 ways to prepare a child for a hospital visit.
Explain what’s going to be happening
This can be difficult depending on the child’s age and personality. Macsen didn’t really want to go into hospital but I explained that if we didn’t take the Play doh out of his ear then it could get really painful. I also explained that he would be going into hospital to have a little sleep. He loved that idea.
The hardest part to explain to him was the fact that he couldn’t eat before he went to sleep. He was surprisingly good about it though. I had to promise him a big chocolate cake afterwards though.
Plan something exciting beforehand
The weekend before we knew he had to go in we planned a nice relaxing weekend. We asked Macsen what he would like to do and he decided he wanted to visit the park. We did just that and followed it up with his favourite dinner and some treats. We also got all the duvets down and watched movies on the sofa. It was lush.
Pack your child’s favourite toys
I asked Macsen which toys he would like to take. He, naturally, chose his dinosaurs. He was actually really excited about choosing and packing some toys ready to go to hospital. I even told him he could show the nurses his favourite dinosaurs.
Personally, involving the child in this decision is crucial. Even if you’re in for the day, there is a lot of just waiting around. Playing with their favourite toys certainly helps to relieve boredom.
For me, this one was vital. I had to take Enfys and Anwen along too so I recruited my Mam for the day. She helped me with the girls and gave me some company.
If you do go alone though, take something to read or keep your mind occupied.
Hide your own fears and concerns
This is perhaps the most important one to remember. It’s okay to show your child some of your feelings but make sure you don’t project your feelings onto your child.
I know that Macsen can get quite agitated so this was a concern of mine. I hid it and only spoke about hospital positively. I tried to make it something fun and projected only positive thoughts onto him.
Do you have any other tips to prepare a child for a hospital visit?