02 February 2011

Resources To Help Children Cope with the Hospital

As soon as we returned home from the hospital, I went on Amazon desperate to find a book to help me learn how to care for Bennett better.

There aren't very many books available but I did find this one great little book called, "Your Child In The Hospital."  (It was $3.75 on Amazon, worth a try!)  It came in the mail yesterday and I gobbled it down in almost one sitting.

"Your Child In The Hospital" is a short reference book that offers alot of practical tips for coping with a hospitalization.  The book was written in 1997 so it has several humorous references to "renting a VCR player" hospital or borrowing a friend's "Nintendo" to help a child cope but most of the information is rather timeless and was very helpful. 

Also, I recently found a great website that lists some great age-appropriate ideas to help children cope with medical procedures.  I have listed these links/references here so I can keep coming back and finding the information in the future.

I hope to find more resources about helping a child with a long-term illness and will continue to add resources to this list.

I have realized that focusing on what I can do greatly helps me deal with what I cannot do. 

Book/DVD Resources (* denotes that I have read and/or personally recommend)
The Child Life Council Bookstore 
No Fears, No Tears DVD 
A Child In Pain: What Health Professionals Can Do
Coping in Young Children: Early Intervention Practices to Enhance Adaptive Behavior and Resilience
The Handbook of Child Life: A Guide for Pediatric Psychosocial Care
In Sickness and In Play: Children Coping with Chronic Illness
Extreme Parenting: Parenting Your Child With a Chronic Illness
Parenting Children With Health Issues 
Your Child In The Hospital*

Ideas For Helping Infants (birth - 1 year) Cope

Ideas For Helping Toddlers (1 year - 3 years) Cope

* Try to find several age-appropriate books to read with your child.  Books offer factual information that may clear up any misconceptions or fears your child has about what happens at the hospital (tip found here.)

Ideas For Helping Children of All Ages Cope
* Find a distraction. Kids may feel less discomfort and stress if they blow into a whistle or party blower, count, sing, hug a toy, or think of something good when getting an injection. An older child might prefer to wear headphones or watch a video during injections (tip from here.)

* Purchase/wrap small tiny toys that the child can open each time they endure a painful procedure (tip found here.)

* Give your child choices such as "do you want to take your red pill first or your blue pill first?" or "do you want the IV in the left arm or in your right arm?" (tip found here.)

* Decorate the hospital room with bright posters, mylar balloons, crepe paper streamers and/or the child to liven up a dull room (tip found here.)

* The Coping Club - a website made up of youngsters with and without CF who want to tell other kids how they enrich their lives despite their daily medical challenges

* The Starlight Foundation - A foundation that offers a comprehensive menu of outpatient, hospital-based and Web offerings that enable to provide ongoing support for children and families — from diagnosis through the entire course of medical treatment.

Helping Siblings Cope

* Bring up siblings when people focus only on the sick child.  For example, if someone exclaims, "Oh look how good Lisa looks," you could say, "Yes and Martha has a new haircut, too.  Don't you like it?" (tip found here.)

* Give siblings gifts and tokens of appreciation for helping out during hard times.  Encourage your sick child to share the many toys and gifts he receives to prevent hurt feelings or jealousy (tip found here.)


  1. Wow, this is all so great B! I especially love the tips for siblings! The Child Life Specialist at our clinic is awesome. Around the time when we told Azer we think it's best if he get a G-tube, she helped so much in explaining to him what it would feel like. She even explained the pain part. She brought by another boy that had a MICkey button so Azer could see on a real child what it looked like. I think that helped me a lot too.

    I'm anxious to start out on some of those books!

  2. This is great Breck! Thank you for doing all the research and for sharing. You are awesome!

  3. I'm so glad you found all of these wonderful resources! This reminds me of when my sister was in the hospital all the time with leukemia. She was at a children's hospital, so there were all sorts of things to help distract kids, such as game-filled waiting rooms and volunteers who played with the kids. The doctor's even encouraged my parents to purchase a Gameboy for my sister. She was much older (9-10), but I know she played with that while getting treatments, shots, IVs, etc.

    It sounds like those principles are the same, but need to be adjusted for the age group. I hope you find some helpful mechanisms for Bennett!


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