Understanding what little ones need is always a challenge—are they hungry, tired, afraid? When they’re in the hospital, that challenge is compounded. Their little minds are inundated with new information, sights, sounds and sensations and then, something unfamiliar and a little scary happens—it can produce a lot of anxiety. What can you do to make it easier on them (and, let’s be real, you)? Here are some tips and ideas:
Let them Play
Allowing you infant or toddler to explore their new surroundings through play is very important – it’s how they learn and understand.
Find a playroom
Most hospitals that serve children have Child Life programs and appropriate facilities.
Bring things from home, such as familiar stuffed animals and books.
Bring your stroller and make sure your infant and toddler gets to move about. Take them outside if it is permitted.
For children not yet crawling, make sure tummy time is still a part of every day to continue to support growth and development.
Stick to Routines
Babies and toddlers like to know what to expect. Therefore, routines and familiarity are a huge part of their feeling secure—especially in strange surroundings. Bring items from home and continue with familiar routines, such as bedtime stories, as much as possible.
Children benefit from having their caregivers involved during medical procedures. Policies and restrictions will vary depending on the institution and procedure, but ask your physician about the role you can play.