Here at Alaska Pediatric Surgery in Anchorage, we understand that the prospect of surgery and being hospitalized can be scary and overwhelming – both for you and your child! As a parent, you’re obviously worried about your child undergoing surgery at such a young age, but it’s important to remember that your child looks to you for reassurance! You can help ease your toddler’s nerves (and yours) by preparing them as best as you can with the following tips:

Firstly, it’s important to understand what your toddler is worried about:

  • They’re worried about being away from you, their parent.
  • They’re thinking that going to the hospital is a means of punishment for something they did wrong.
  • They may be very frightened of the medical equipment.

How can you help prepare your toddler for their surgery? 

  • Your toddler doesn’t need to be given a lot of time to think about their surgery. This is an easy one because toddlers don’t quite understand the concept of time yet. This means that you can tell your toddler about their surgery only a day or two ahead of time.
  • Let your toddler have a sense of control. Giving them the option to choose their own blanket, stuffed animal, and other comfort items to bring the day of their surgery will help calm their nerves.
  • Remember to be as patient and as calm as possible. This is a stressful time for both you and your toddler and it’s completely normal for toddlers to be fussy or even “act out” before and sometimes after surgery.