After a Visit to the Hospital
A stay in the hospital, or a visit to the doctor, can be a strange and stressful experience for a child. The role of the Child Life Program is to normalize the experience of hospitalization and health care for children and to enrich their lives during health care experiences. Most children leave the hospital feeling accomplished and excited to tell relatives and friends about their experience. Some children even cry when they are told it is time to leave the hospital playroom. Children often continue to play and process a hospital experience after they return home. Having hospital toys (such as a pretend doctor’s kit and a patient doll or teddy some bandages and straws) can help a young child to continue to master their experience at home. Listen and watch play closely. If you have questions about your child’s play you can call the child life program for suggestions on how to help your child tell you about his or her experience through words and playing. Continue to have books available about the hospital experiences of others, such as Franklin and Curious George. Use them to compare and contrast your child’s recent hospitalization. Provide a small welcome home celebration for a few friends or family as a transition from hospital to home.