Wondering how to start conversation with your child about coming to the hospital?

Hospitalization can be very stressful for children of all ages. Preparing your child ahead of time for things they may experience throughout their stay can help reduce their anxiety and help them to cope.

Things to remember when talking to your child about the hospital:

Image of child patient with physicianMake sure to always give honest and appropriate information! This may vary by age.


  • Bring your child’s favorite comfort items.
  • Try to keep routines as normal as possible.
  • Focus on self-care/ prepare yourself for your child’s upcoming hospital visit.
  • Keep in mind things that help your child relax (example: soft music).


  • Prepare your child one to two days in advance.
  • Use words your child will understand.
  • Have your child pick out their favorite things to bring to the hospital.
  • Read books about going to the hospital.


  • Prepare your child a few days in advance.
  • Use language your child will understand.
  • Explain to your preschooler that they did not do anything “bad” to cause their hospitalization (not a form of punishment).
  • Ask questions to encourage them to express their feelings and thoughts about coming to the hospital.
  • Read books about coming to the hospital.
  • Show them medical equipment (example: stethoscope)


  • Prepare your school- age child a few days to one week in advance.
  • Encourage your child to express their fears about their upcoming hospitalization.
  • Encourage open and honest communication (have them ask questions).
  • Explain to your child exactly why they need to be hospitalized.
  • Have them bring some of their favorite things to keep them busy.


  • Include them in discussions and decisions about their hospitalization.
  • Encourage them to ask questions about their hospitalization and upcoming procedures.
  • Respect and allow them privacy.



Service Parent