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School Age (6-12 years)

School age children have a basic understanding of how their bodies work. Children at this age are best prepared 1 to 2 weeks before their surgery. Preparing them too far ahead can make them more anxious. Ensure children have time to ask questions about their surgery and let them express their feelings or concerns.

School - age children may be concerned about:

  • what they will experience - sights, sounds, smells
  • changes to their body
  • waking up during surgery
  • separation from parents
  • loss of control

To prepare your school - aged child for surgery:

  • One to two weeks before the surgery, explain to your child why the surgery is necessary, the benefits, what will happen and how it may feel.
  • Encourage your child to express his or her feelings. Know that emotions such as anxiety, fear and anger are normal.
  • Be open and honest. Encourage your child to talk about the surgery and ask questions. Give clear explanations using words your child will understand. If you're not sure how to answer a question, tell your child you'll find out. Accurate information can lessen fears and clear up any incorrect ideas your child may have.
  • Children at this age may be concerned about waking up during surgery. For a list of questions and answers kids often ask about going to sleep (having anesthesia) go to Understanding Anesthesia - FAQ.
  • Reassure your child that you will be with him or her as much as possible in the hospital.
  • To increase your child's sense of control, offer as many choices as possible as you prepare to come to the hospital.
  • Encourage your child to pack a few familiar items from home to bring along (a favourite stuffed animal, blanket, pillow, book or toy).
  • Help your child relax by encouraging deep breathing, acknowledging feelings, listening to music, reading together, having some special time together.
  • Day of Surgery - Photo Tour and read books together about coming to the hospital.

Toddlers | Preschoolers | School Age Children | Teens