No one wants their child to have to stay in a hospital, but unfortunately from time to time the need to do so may arise. When the time does come, how do you comfort your child and how can you make their stay more pleasant? Check out these ideas for making your child’s hospital stay a bit easier.
- Pictures from home: Bring several pictures from home. If your child doesn’t normally have pictures in her room, create some. Does your family have a pet? Take a picture of the family pet, of mom and dad, and maybe of grandma and grandpa too. Bring pictures of whoever you think your child will miss seeing. You can even bring in a scrapbook for them to look at when they are sad.
- Toys to play with: One of the worst things for an active child is to be stuck in a bed with nothing to do. There is the television, but how long can he watch that without going out of his mind? Bring toys that work well in a confined space, like matchbox cars, action figures, and puzzles. Playing card games with him when he is up to it can also be fun.
- Music to listen to: Bring things that appeal to all of his senses, like some music for him to listen to. If he doesn’t have a private room, just bring in a small MP3 player with headphones. Soothing music will calm him and help him to improve faster. Most libraries even have books that can be downloaded to MP3’s now as well.
- Cards from friends: Kids miss their friends when they are stuck in the hospital. It’s a nice surprise to bring in cards made by classmates or other friends from the neighborhood to cheer him up.
- Narrated book: Sometimes mom or dad isn’t able to be at the hospital with the child all of the time. At these times, it’s nice to have a book to listen to that plays mom or dad reading the story. Many card and gift stores sell books with recorders in them. This will also help replicate the feeling of home.
- Blanket from home: Whether you are a child or an adult, it’s nice to have something from home that is familiar. Bringing in a blanket from home that he can cuddle up with will help him relax and not feel like everything is so strange. The familiar smell will also comfort him.
- Favorite stuffed toy: Different than other toys, having a favorite stuffed toy to hug during scary times is essential when staying in the hospital. Often the staff will let the child bring a stuffed toy when they need to be taken for tests. During these times they can end up being left alone for periods of time, and having a stuffed toy to hug can help alleviate the stress.
- Plenty of light: Hospitals can be scary and making sure that they have plenty of natural light may help her to feel better and less scared. If putting the child by a window is not an option, with permission you may be able to bring in a natural light lamp to bring a little of the outside indoors. At night you can turn on a night light for your child.
- Oil diffuser: If you’ve ever been in a hospital you will know that they smell like cleaners and antiseptic for obvious reasons. While necessary, these smells don’t exactly comfort a child, so having a small air freshener or an oil diffuser will help his room to smell better and more like home.
- Colorful balloons: Nothing brightens a child’s day like colorful balloons. Flowers are nice, but kids really love balloons. Most hospitals will have a gift shop where you can buy balloons. Having a nice bunch in a spot he can see will brighten an otherwise sterile white room and should cheer him up.
Let’s face it; the hospital is never going to be just like home. But anything you can do to bring bits of home into the hospital will help make your child’s stay a little easier. According to a report by NHS (National Health Service), patients who are happy and more comfortable do better and there is a lower rate of readmissions.