You know your child better than anyone. That knowledge, and simply being their parent, makes you qualified to help.
How children behave is often modeled by those around them, especially their parents. If you show your anxiety and fear, your child is more likely to follow those behaviours. As hard as it can be, try to remain calm and be there when your child needs you.
Make sure your child understands that the operation will help them get better. Do not promise your child anything that you are not absolutely sure will happen. If you aren’t sure how to answer their questions, tell them you don’t know but that you will find out. By giving correct information only, your child will more easily adapt to changes and be more trusting.
Often, fear and anxiety come from the unknown. Find out as much as you can about the test or procedure. If you know what's involved, you will feel more in control and will be better able to help your child. Also, find out what your child is likely to experience before, during and after.
Reassure your child that you will be there for them. If possible, arrange for other family or support people to come relieve you so your child is not alone. Volunteers are available to be with your child if you need to step away for a short period of time.
Child Life Specialist programs are available at the Regina General Hospital and Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital (Saskatoon). They help ease the anxiety and fear your child may have around their surgery. Child Life Specialists meet the psychosocial and emotional needs of children and families during their hospital stay. They have many great tools to help emotionally prepare your child for surgery and what comes after.
The video below is great to watch with your child before surgery. It explains the surgery process using Rosie the Therapy Doll and other children.