ACPA Family Services

#Surgery

Archives

Summer Surgery is on the Calendar

Even if school is still in session, we’re heading into Memorial Day Weekend, the official start of summer for many families.  Summer means a lot of different things to different people but if you’re the parent of a school-aged child with a cleft, your summer schedule may center around one big event: A summer surgery.

There are as many great ways to prepare for surgery as there are children and families making those plans! Building a surgery calendar is just one of many ideas but we hope it inspires you to prepare for your own experience as you and your school-age child head to the hospital–whether it’s this summer or next winter.

  • Curious George Goes to the Hospital is a long-time favorite picture book for school-aged kids. A visit to your local library will turn up other books to share with your child as he or she prepares for surgery.

    Curious George Goes to the Hospital is a long-time favorite picture book for school-aged kids. A visit to your local library will turn up other books to share with your child as he or she prepares for surgery.

    A family surgery calendar is a simple way to help your child engage and invest in his or her own experience with surgery and hospitalization. School-aged children even as young as six or seven years have begun to develop a concrete sense of time though shorts spans–a few days to a few weeks–are probably most easily understood for younger school-aged children. A calendar can be good visual aid for children as they help prepare for their surgery.

  • A few weeks prior to surgery, help your child mark the surgery date on a calendar. Stickers, markers, crayons, and tape are easy tools for kids to use as they build their calendar. Plan a few specific events leading up to the big day and add those to the calendar. Possibilities include:
    • Visiting the hospital and admissions desk
    • Choosing a special toy, blanket and or book to take along to the hospital
    • Making a packing list and/or packing for the hospital stay
    • Visiting the library to search for picture books about hospitals or surgery
  •  Make a few plans for after the surgery date and add those to the calendar. The surgery is a big deal, but it doesn’t have to take center stage. Help your child think about and look forward to life after surgery:
    • Having a friend visit your child when he or she has returned home
    • A family picnic or cookout
    • The doctor’s all-clear for your child to eat a favorite food
    • Any other activity that will help your child focus on returning to life-as-usual after surgery.

Post your family’s surgery calendar on the refrigerator or some other high-traffic area in your home (remember to keep it at kid-eye-level!).  Add to it, revise it, and highlight days as they come and go. Print a Family Surgery Calendar.

Your treatment team coordinator will have other great information about your particular hospital and what to expect before and after your child’s surgery. 

What tips and suggestion do you have to share about helping children and families prepare for surgery?