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Preparing Your School-age Child for Surgery





Your school age child may more fully understand what will happen, and because of this, will have more concerns and worries.  They may worry about

  •   If a needle will be needed


  •   Loss of control


  •   Changes in the way their body will look


  •   Waking up during surgery


  •   Pain and even death.  


Having the correct information about what is going to happen will be very important at this age.  It may be difficult for school-age children to cope well with surprises on this day. 




Prepare your school-age child about a week before surgery to allow time for them to process the information and then ask questions. 


The Baystate Children’s Hospital Tour Program is a great way to help your child learn about the process of surgery in a calm and relaxed atmosphere.  This will also give you the accurate information so you can answer any questions. We provide family-focused care, which means peace of mind for you and your child. 


  • Most children will cope better knowing what surgery is going to happen and why it needs to be done.  Your preparation should include the specific steps they will be going through. 
  • Use simple words that you are sure your child understands.  
  • Include information, such as
    •  They will be in a special sleep during the surgery
    •  A parent will be with them as they fall asleep
    •  How they will get into that special sleep
    •  If there will be a bandage afterwards
    •  If they will be going home or sleeping over at the hospital.  
  • Allow your child to ask questions
  • Consider asking them to repeat back what you have told them and what will happen. 
  • Give them choices whenever possible, picking a favorite toy or book to bring with them, or what flavor popsicle they want.   
  • Read together books about going to the hospital.  


Here is a list of books you and your school-age child may want to read about coming to this hospital.  While they may be great ways to help your child learn about general things associated with a hospital experience, you will need to be careful about the specifics they may contain.  Some of the things we do here at Baystate Children’s Hospital may differ from some of the things in these books.  It may be best to get correct information from your surgeon, the nurses who will call you, or sign up for the hospital tour program. 


Clifford Visits the Hospital by Norman Bridwell


Going to the Hospital by Anne Civardi


Tubes in My Ear: My Trip to the Hospital by Virginia Dooley


Good-bye Tonsils  by Craig Hatkoff


Things to Know Before You Go to the Hospital by Lisa Ann Marsoli


Chris Gets Ear Tubes by Betty Pace


You and your child can also read this online picture book account of a little girl's surgery experience at Baystate Medical Center.