Your child may experience behavior changes, which are normal and temporary responses to hospitalization. For example, your child may:
- Act younger (bedwetting, thumb sucking and temper tantrums).
- Show changes in sleeping, eating or toileting.
- Have new fears.
- Be more dependent.
Be patient, and stay with your child as much as possible for awhile. Children who feel that they have some control over their illness and hospitalization are more likely to feel confident and be cooperative. You can:
- Ask your child to talk about the hospital.
- Have your child draw pictures about the hospital.
- Play hospital with your child.
- Make a hospital scrapbook with your child.
- Read books about hospitals and doctors with your child.
The illness of a brother or sister can be difficult for children, making them anxious, jealous or confused. Ways you can help:
- Maintain connections between siblings.
- Bring siblings to the hospital; if visits are not possible, have them stay in touch by telephone.
- Send home pictures, art work and audio/video tapes.
- Prepare the sibling for changes in the ill child’s appearance.
- Prepare the sibling for any medical equipment in the home.