Preparing Yourself For Your Child's Stay

We understand that it’s stressful to have a sick child. In addition to rearranging regular activities, such as work and school, you may experience worry, guilt, sadness, and relief as you prepare for your child’s hospital stay. As you help your child get ready for his hospital experience, it’s just as important to mentally and physically prepare yourself.

Common feelings

Knowing that your child will be admitted to the hospital or will undergo a procedure may bring up a variety of feelings, including anxiety, fear, worry, helplessness, shock, guilt, anger, numbness, relief, and sadness. Children often sense their parents' feelings. Allowing yourself time to experience your own feelings will help you better support your child.

Haga preguntas

It’s helpful to learn more about the hospital, your child's medical condition, and the treatment. You may want to write down your questions.

Some common questions you may want to ask:

  • What should I tell my child about the procedure or operation?
  • What will happen immediately before the operation or procedure?
  • How long will the procedure or operation take?
  • ¿Puedo quedarme con mi hijo durante el procedimiento?
  • Where will I wait during the procedure or operation?
  • Will I be told how my child is doing during the procedure or operation?
  • When will I be able to see my child after the procedure or operation?
  • ¿Mi hijo sentirá dolor?
  • ¿Cuánto tiempo permanecerá mi hijo en el hospital?
  • ¿Cuánto tiempo pasará hasta que mi hijo pueda volver a la escuela y a jugar?
  • Where can I find more information on my child's condition, operation, or procedure?
  • Recuerde que usted es quien mejor conoce a su hijo. Be sure to tell your child's doctors, nurses, and other caregivers about your child's personality and past experiences with health care. For example, if your child is especially afraid of blood tests, staff can often find ways to make the experience less upsetting.


  • It's hard to support your child and family if you don’t take care of yourself physically and emotionally.
  • If possible, take turns with another caregiver in sleeping at the hospital with your child; make a schedule before your child is admitted.
  • Tome descansos para salir de la habitación de su hijo. Por ejemplo, salga a caminar o vaya a tomar un café. Ask the Child Life specialist if a volunteer could stay with your child while you take a break.
  • Hable con amigos y familiares sobre sus preocupaciones e inquietudes.
  • Aprenda ejercicios de respiración profunda y relajación. Programs about this are shown on Channel 28, the hospital's Education and Relaxation channel.
  • Visit the Hale Family Center for Families or the Resource Room on your floor and ask about wellness activities for caregivers. Massage, Reiki, gentle yoga, meditation, and Zumba are just a few options available throughout the hospital.
  • Haga ejercicio con regularidad. Pase por el Centro para Familias de la Familia Hale o pregúntele a su trabajador social o ludoterapeuta infantil cómo puede usar el gimnasio cercano al hospital.
  • Pregunte a qué hora se reúnen los padres para tomar un café en su unidad infantil; pregunte por los grupos de apoyo.
  • Escriba un diario sobre sus experiencias en el hospital.
  • Haga planes para ver a sus otros hijos y pasar tiempo con ellos.
  • Si usted y el otro padre de su hijo no están juntos, pero ambos forman parte de la vida de su hijo, tómense un tiempo para decidir quién estará junto a su hijo en diferentes momentos de la hospitalización o el procedimiento. Cuéntele el plan a su hijo.

Special considerations

If you have a restraining order against your child's other parent, bring a copy of it with you. Show it to the social worker at the hospital.

If you are worried about domestic violence issues, call the AWAKE (Advocacy for Women and Kids in Emergencies) Program or speak with a nurse or social worker.