how can i prepare my 5 year old for surgery?

Amanda - posted on 03/11/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )




My 5 year old has to have surgery next week, to have his adnoids removed and tubes put into his ears. I am not sure how to go about preparing him for it. Does anybody have any suggestions about how I can talk to him about what he is about to experience? Please any advice is appreciated. Thank you.


Katherine - posted on 03/14/2010




Amanda, I worked in surgery for yrs and it is scary for kids, you should talk to your son about it, tell him what is going to happen, from start to finish, get a surgical mask, hat, shoe covers, gown if possible, sometimes the drs office can help you with this, and let him know that he will at some point get some medicine in an i.v. that will make him sleepy, and when he takes a nap and wakes up, you'll be there, alot of times we explain death as sleeping, and that scares kids in surgery because first they are being taken from your arms to an unfamiliar place and told they are going to sleep, they might think they are never coming back or waking up, so really take time and explain its just a nap and you will be there when he wakes up and its all going to be ok, then tell him he gets as much ice cream and popsicles as he wants. take him to the grocery store before the day before the surgery and let him pick out his ice cream and popsicles maybe some soup, and let him be involved in making some decisions about it, that will help some, but the main thing is to stress that you will be there when he wakes up. it only takes about 30-45 min, talk to his doc about letting him take a special toy in the OR with him, or a blanky anything that makes him feel secure. he will do great.

Ilene - posted on 03/12/2010




My six year old son had tubes put in his ears today at the hospital. We did buy him a book to explain what was going to happen at the hospital. He seemed okay with everything and was excited about being able to hear again as the water in his ears has gotten rather bad lately.

Pre-op went very well. He took the drink they gave him for an oral sedative and went to sleep. Now for the news you don't want to hear about. Be Very Prepared that waking up from surgery can be a terrorizing experience for your child as it was for my six year old today. My six year old woke up from his tube surgery having a terror attack. It was extremely upsetting to me and one of the nurses took me out of the room so that I could calm down. My husband was a saint and stuck by our son without letting his emotions get to him. When I was calm enough, I went back in to calm my son. The nurses and doctor then explained to me that terror attacks in young children happen alot in kids right after surgery. I never expected it.

He was complaining that his ears hurt at that point. After about an hour or so, we were released and went home. My son seems happy now and is definitely happy he can hear. I've been reading some stuff on line that says that the terror attack may happen again over the next few nights as he may relive it in his sleep. I'm hoping it won't happen again, but I can't be sure. Please be prepared. You cannot prepare him for it, but do your best to prepare yourself for it. I was not prepared for it and it upset me dramatically. Best wishes.

Amanda - posted on 04/10/2010




Just want to say thank you to everyone. Unfortunately his surgery had to be rescheduled due to a bad cough. But I did explain everything that was going to happen. He took it rather well. He is excited that he will be able to hear better! A little bit of relief for me knowing he is taking it better than I thought. Thanks again!

[deleted account]

My 5 yr old daughter had this op aswell as getting her tonsils out just a few months ago. The hospital were fantastic and invited us in for a visit b4 she had the op, she got 2 look around and see the place and ask all her questions about what this was for and that was for. They even let her try some of the numbing gel on her hands because she mentioned she was worried about getting a jag.
They also gave her a little pack that had a book that told the story of a little girl who was going in for an op and explained the people she would meet and what would happen etc. She also had a surgical mask and a few other bits so we all got 2 play the doctors and nurses game with her. U might b able to find something similar online.
I think the best thing to do is try 2 be positive even if u r feeling a bit nervous 2. If he asks u if it will hurt be honest and tell him it might but that it wont last long and he will b much better afterwards. Hope this helps and hope ur little one sails through x


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Julie - posted on 04/12/2010




My Daughter has had 9 surgical procedures starting from the age of 4 mnths till current ( almost 8) When she was 3 she had to have a colostomy . We tried to do our best to explain to her in terms she would understand exactly what would happen and why. Ever since then when she has to have something done we explain it to her the night before and things seem to go smoother.

Jamie - posted on 04/11/2010




I told my son 2 look forward to all the ice cream he gets 2 eat cause he doesn't get ice cream that often.. and the hospital gave him a coloring book that had all kinds of info that helped we read the book over and over until he promised me that he would be brave and that his doggy could go the hospital allowed them to take there stuffed friends to get "operated" on also!

Amy - posted on 04/11/2010




My son had his adenoids and tonsils out at about the same age. It was so worth it! He actually BREATHES at night now! I hope you have similar success!

Kellean - posted on 04/11/2010




This can be tough. My son had the same thing at age five. Is he getting his tonsils removed also? Is this for sleep apnea? Will he get ice cream afterwards?

Suzi - posted on 03/14/2010




my eldest daughter had several lots of surgery years ago on her hips which involved her being in hospital several times and being in plaster for ages too. We prepared her by trying to make the whole thing an adventure and we all had characters names from winnie the pooh and made up stories with us in. we also tried not to make too much of a fuss about the whole thing as obviously if they are not worried about the surgery they wil be less likely to act up. hope this all helps and hope the surgery goes well.

Claire - posted on 03/13/2010




We have a son whos now 4 when he was about 6 weeks old he had double hernias just above his pelvis ( they call them inguinal hernias) because they were worried they may strangulate so were were transferred by ambulance to the other hospital from our local one to have the operation he didn't even know being that young, i was more worried about it than he was but he was fine and only has 2 faint lines above his pelvis we were there for about 4 days and they operated on him on the saturday we were home on the sunday

Tanya - posted on 03/12/2010




Both my children have had operations. I was more nervous than they were! Keeley was 6 when she had to have her teeth taken out and now we are waiting for her to have her tonsils out. I just told Keeley what was going to happen and she was not bovered att all. She even says that she can`t wait to have her tonsils out! My oldest child Emily had to have her appendix out and the drs were really good and explainred to her what was going to happen and I gave her plenty of reassurance. Just explain to your child what is going to happen and let him ask you questions.

Keisha - posted on 03/12/2010




I would talk to him about it and tell him how it will help him. Make sure he meets the doctor that would be doing the surgery ahead of time. Let him know that you'll be there with him and as soon as he wakes up you'll be the first thing he sees. I would leave out the part about the injection or "SHOTS!" LOL! I have a 5 year old as well and any mention of a shot and its over! Tell him that lots of kids get this done and he will be fine! I would probably try not to make to much of a big deal about it, only because it may make him even more worried. I definitely would not talk about the pain that he will experience after, unless he asks, because it may freak him out depending on what you say.

I would also find out whether or not the hospital has a kid waiting area. When my son was 3 years old, he had to get his umbilical hernia corrected. At the Children's Hospital in our area they had a waiting room (after they changed into their gowns and before they went back) for the kids that had tons of toys and books and whatnot. He was only 3, but he was still nervous. I talked a lot about that room as well, so that he wouldn't be so scared about going to the actual hospital.

Rebecca - posted on 03/12/2010




i would start off very simply explaining that he needs an operation and why. then ask if he has any questions and take it from there, using simple language to tell him. you can explain that they will put him to sleep with an injection, and explain (based on what doc said) if he will be in pain afterwards etc.

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