As a parent of a hospitalized child, you can’t avoid being stressed, however there are actions you can take to help make your stay less stressful and maybe even productive.
- Bring pen and paper to the hospital: Chances are you may see your child’s doctor for just a few minutes each day. Be sure to write down any question you have, big or small, so you have all of your concerns addressed.
- Bring a laptop: Medical terminology can be daunting. The more informed you are the better, for you and your child. The Internet has a wealth of information. Go to trusted sites for medical information recommended by your doctor or nurse so you are not misled by false information.
- Bring spare change: Hospital cafeterias are not always open 24 hours a day, so having some change for the vending machines may be just what you need to ward off hunger or quench your thirst.
- Bring healthy snacks: You need to be alert and well fed while you’re coping with your child’s illness. Taking care of yourself by eating healthy snacks is also taking care of your child. Fruit, veggies, yogurt, or non-sugary granola bars beats grabbing a donut or fries.
- Bring a pillow and blanket: While you will likely be given a cot to sleep on, your personal linens can help you feel more comfortable and enable you to get the rest you need in order to care for your child.
- Bring a friend or family member: Perhaps the most valuable asset you could bring with you is a close friend or family member. This person can be a trusted individual to confide in and someone who can also visit with your child while you take a break—even if only for an hour or two. You will welcome the time away, whether for a quick shower at home or just a walk outside to clear your head.
Being prepared will help you take care of both you and your child.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, January 2019
- If your child is hospitalized, you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of your child.
- Be prepared to ask questions of doctors and nurses.
- Bring personal items from home to help yourself feel more comfortable.
- Surround yourself with supportive friends and family.