Childhood Cancer

You can discuss when and how to prepare your child for upcoming procedures with the child life specialist or nurse. Consider how much advance notice to give your child before procedures. You may want to experiment. Some children do better with several days to prepare, while others just spend the time worrying. Many child life specialists accompany children to procedures and stay to provide support. Sometimes, a child’s needs change if treatment lasts a long time, so good communication and flexibility are essential.

For Christie, playing “procedures” helped release many feelings. We stocked a medical kit with gauze pads, tape, tubing, stethoscope, reflex hammer, and pretend needles and syringes. We made IV bottles from empty shampoo containers, complete with tubing and plastic needles. Many dolls and stuffed animals in our house fell apart after being subject to many shots, IVs, and surgeries.

If you find that you are unable to help your child during procedures, ask the child life specialist or other member of the healthcare team to be present to comfort your child.