A Parent's Role in Preparation

Before your child has a procedure, ask the doctor or nurse about what will happen, so you can prepare your child for unfamiliar sights or sounds. If you have other children, try to explain what will be happening. Hospitalization affects the whole family, so be prepared for concern on the part of siblings. Siblings should not come to the hospital on the day of surgery.

Parents should also:

  • Encourage your child to express feelings, fears and fantasies.
  • Let your child know it is okay to cry.
  • Listen to your child's questions and answer the questions honestly.
  • Read to your child about his or her surgical procedure. Our Child Life staff have compiled a list of books that may be helpful.
  • Pack familiar books, toys and clothes for your child to take to the hospital.
  • Visit the hospital ahead of time through a scheduled preoperative visit.

Child Life Pre-Surgical Preparation Class

The Child Life Pre-Surgical Preparation Class is a free, fun, interactive class for parents and their children ages 4 to 12 years, who are having surgery at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital. A certified child life specialist helps children and families understand what to expect before, during and after surgery through hands-on medical play, educational games and a tour of the operating room and recovery room. 

The 45-minute class meets on Monday and Thursday afternoons. Reservations are required. For more information, please call the Pediatric Pre-Anesthesia visit clinic at 203-688-5573.


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