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Talking to your child
The following tips may help you prepare your child's hospital stay.
Infants (4 weeks to 1 year)
- Learn about your child's illness and how it will be treated.
- Talk with hospital staff about your own feelings and hospital experiences.
- Try to spend as much time as possible in the hospital caring for your infant.
- Bring familiar items (music, special toys, or a blanket) to the hospital.
Toddlers (1 - 2 years)
- Since you know your child best, trust yourself about how much information to share.
- Learn as much as you can about your child's hospital stay.
- Toddlers should be prepared one to two days before they come to the hospital.
- Books about the hospital can be helpful when talking with your toddler.
- Medical kits and playing with toddlers can help you learn how much they understand.
- Give toddlers simple explanations to help clear up any misconceptions they have.
- Reassure toddlers that going to the hospital is not a punishment.
Preschool (3 - 5 years)
- Prepare preschool-age children three to five days before their hospital stays. Reading books about the hospital is a good way to prepare children for their hospital stay.
- Ask your child, what he or she thinks the hospital is and what will happen there. This will help you understand what he or she knows.
- Playing with medical equipment can help children become comfortable with what they see.
School-age (6 - 12 years)
- Give children specific information about what will be happening.
- Ask what they understand and help clear up any misconceptions.
- School-age children can be prepared up to two weeks before their hospital stay.
- Include children in conversations with medical staff. Otherwise, they may not understand what you're talking about and be scared about what they're hearing.
Teens (13 - 18 years)
- Include teens in conversations and decision-making.
- Use correct terms and provide honest information.
- Encourage your teen to ask questions.
- Offer teens books or pamphlets that talk about their condition or procedures.
- Give teens the chance to talk to medical staff without you in the room. They may have questions they are embarrassed to ask in front of you.
Access appointment information and medical records, manage prescriptions, and message your child's doctor. Visit MyChart.
Discover CHW is a free app that helps you find your way around Children's Wisconsin's Milwaukee campus and provides you with valuable information for your stay.