Supporting Your Child During a Stressful Procedure

Support_FOP_Child.pngThis information is meant to help empower caregivers as support figures during their child’s stressful medical procedures. How a child copes with stress in the hospital and adjusts to different pain management techniques will vary on an individual basis.

Considerations leading up to the procedure

1. Does my child have misconceptions about the procedure or irrational fears that may be intensifying their stress?

2. Would my child benefit from the opportunity to learn information about the procedure beforehand to better understand what to expect and what the purpose is?

  • Learn more about your child’s coping style.
  • Find tips on how to achieve a successful blood draw.
  • If you’re not sure how to answer your child’s questions, feel free to reach out to Hope Newport, Family Services Manager, at hope.newport@ifopa.org for developmentally appropriate explanations to questions they may have about the procedure.

3. Is the form of support that I have planned developmentally appropriate for my child?

  • Comfort holds are appropriate for infants through pre-school aged children. Comfort holds must be done with care because of restricted range of motion and risk of injury to a fixed limb. As with all planned interventions, it should be discussed openly between the family, child and team.
  • Deep breathing is appropriate for preschool aged children through adolescence.
  • EVERY AGE benefits from the emotional support of having a caregiver present.
  • Distractions or planned alternative focus is appropriate for toddlers through adolescence.

Age appropriate distractions

  • Toddler – bubbles, light spinner, cause and effect toys, toys with lights and sounds, sensory toys, etc.
  • Preschool – bubbles, light spinner, toys with lights and sounds, young versions of ISpy books, stress ball, pinwheels, whistles, iPad games and activities
  • School-age – ISpy books, iPad games and activities, conversation, music, singing, stress balls, pinwheels, whistles, etc.
  • Adolescent – iPad games and activities, conversation, MadLibs, music, singing, hangman, Pictionary, stress balls, etc.

You_are_amazing_color.JPGHelpful Resources

Regardless of how the procedure goes, find one positive, specific action or behavior your child practiced during the process. Please view our downloadable certificates (example pictured right) available for the purpose of giving your child a tangible reminder of how they successfully contributed to the procedure.

For more in-depth examples of support, here are two online videos created by children's hospitals of to educate and empower parents.

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