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Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock (CHad)
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Preschoolers: 3-5 years

When to Prepare: Plan to begin preparing your preschool-aged child three days before his/her procedure. Preparation too far in advance can increase anxiety.

Common Stressors for Preschool-aged children: Being left alone; fear of having a body part damaged; fear of needles and shots; fear of pain or the anticipation of pain; interrupted routines.

Ways You Can Help

  • Explain what the hospital will be like in honest and simple terms, and answer all questions.
  • Explain why he/she is having the procedure. Preschoolers may feel they have done something wrong and the procedure is their punishment for being “bad.” Explain the benefits of the procedure (i.e., “After your arm has healed, you will be able to climb on the play structure again.”)
  • Choices can increase your child’s sense of control, so offer choices when appropriate and possible.
  • Read books with your child about going to the hospital.

Supporting Your Child as Anesthesia is Being Started (Induction)

  • Read a favorite book
  • Singing, counting, or storytelling
  • Blowing bubbles
  • Watching a movie/listening to music

* We have toys, music, movies, and books available at the PainFree Program, or you can bring items from home

Additional Items to Consider Bringing

  • Pull-up/extra underwear and clothes
  • Stroller- Helpful to use when leaving the hospital
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