This week Daddy had minor surgery, and while it was minor, he still has a two-week recovery time during which he should not sit, bend over or pick Caden up. This has meant that we had to get creative in the ways Daddy and Caden can spend time together. We’ve also had to think of ways to help Caden understand that Daddy can’t do the things he normally does and that he needs to be careful not to be too rough with Daddy. So here are some ways you can help your little one understand and cope when a parent has surgery.
Helping Kids Understand When a Parent Has Surgery
1. Keep the hospital ID bracelet on. The hospital bracelet is a good visual reminder for young children that mom or dad has a booboo, especially if the surgery site is not very visible. We showed Caden the hospital ID bracelet and told him Daddy has a booboo and that he needs to be careful. Now when we remind him, he points to the bracelet and says “booboo”.
2. Show your child the wound. We showed Caden the bandaged area soon after Daddy got home, and the stitches once we removed the bandage the next day. This helps to make it real for young children. They probably don’t know what “surgery” is, so you have to teach them what that means.
3. Read children’s books about hospitals. We bought the book Curious George Goes to the Hospital. It is a nice way to introduce young children to what a hospital is and helps explain what happens in a hospital when people get sick or hurt.
4. Make a Get Well Soon card. Before mommy or daddy comes home help the child(ren) make a get well soon card. This will help them to feel apart of the recovery.
5. Let them help with recovery care. Older children can help mom or dad feel better by bringing the recovering parent drinks and snacks, etc.
6. Think of new ways to spend quality time. This has been the hardest part for Caden, since he is so used to sitting on the couch with Daddy in the morning and evening watching TV. Since Daddy can’t sit, we modified this routine by moving it to the bed. There Caden can sit next to Daddy as he lies in bed. Caden also still likes to be carried around sometimes, but since Daddy can’t pick him up, we’ve had to change to hand holding. This seems to satisfy Caden’s need of touch for now while Daddy recovers.
7. Keep them busy. The best way we’ve helped Caden cope with Daddy recovering from surgery is to keep him busy. Prior to the surgery I planned out a weeks worth of fun activities that I could do with him to keep him busy. We’ve also left the house everyday. We have run errands, gone shopping, went to the library and playground, visited Grandma etc. This has helped Daddy have some uninterrupted recovery time. It has also helped me to relax because I didn’t have to worry about Caden getting too rough with Daddy.
This is how we have survived one week of home recovery. One week down, one week to go. I hope we can survive next week. 🙂
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