Reading a children's book about being in the hospital to your child can help him or her prepare for an imminent hospital stay.
Preparing Your Child
No matter how many times a child visits a hospital as either a patient or just a visitor, he still may feel apprehensive, particularly if he is going to be admitted. If you know a hospital stay is in your child's near future, some steps can help to make this difficult time a bit easier for you both.
- Talk to your child about what to expect during his stay, including when you will be allowed to stay with him and when you may not be able to be with him as well.
- Include the whole family in discussions about the impending hospital stay, and encourage your child to ask questions.
- Let your child know that it is okay to be afraid, but also encourage him to talk about why he is afraid, and do your best to allay his fears.
- Let your child bring a special item with her to the hospital, such as a stuffed animal, doll, collectible item, book, or picture.
- Ask your child to help you pack his suitcase, allowing him to choose his pajamas, slippers, and other necessities.
- Head to the nearest department store, and let your child choose a new pair of pajamas, new gown, or new robe.
- If possible, take your child on a tour of the hospital before the day of admittance.
- Find picture books and movies that relate general stories about children and other characters that have been hospitalized and share these with your child.
Children's Book About Being in the Hospital: Popular Choices
Reading a children's book about being in the hospital can make the prospect of a hospital stay for your child a little less daunting. In many cases, picture books can help a child look at his hospital stay as more of an adventure. The following is a list of popular books that deal with hospital stays for children. In some cases, you may be able to find free books for chronically ill children as well.
- Clifford Visits the Hospital-The beloved character, Clifford, finds himself in a hospital, where he meets several hospitalized children, gets into mischief, and finds a happy ending. This book is appropriate for ages 4 to 8.
- Katie Goes to the Hospital-Appropriate for ages 4 to 8, children love the story of Katie's adventure in the hospital where she gets tubes put into her ears.
- Good-Bye Tonsils-Follow Juliana's adventure as she enters the hospital to have her tonsils removed-appropriate for ages 4 to 8.
- Curious George Goes to the Hospital-In this book, which is appropriate for children ages 4 to 8, the beloved monkey must enter the hospital for an X-ray and anesthesia. His fears and that of the reader's are addressed in this favorite children's story.
- Mr. Rogers Hospital-Mister Rogers saves the day again with this informative children's book that offers real photos chronicling a child's hospital stay.
- Going to the Hospital-This is another wonderful children's book, appropriate for ages 4 to 8. It's bright and cheery and takes some of the fear out of a child's impending hospital visit.
Finally, while a children's book about being in the hospital can certainly ease a youngster's fears somewhat, a book about hospitals can also relieve a sick child's siblings as well. For a great selection to help siblings cope with a brother's or sister's hospitalization, check out My Brother Needs an Operation, which includes a hospital diary and activity pages.