When Your Child Has a Hospital Visit + Special Gift Ideas!

When Your Child Has a Hospital Visit (And Special Ideas for Afterward!)


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My daughter has had more hospital visits than I care to count but from those experiences I have learned many helpful tips on making things go as smoothly as possible. I am also sharing some thoughtful and fun presents and activities to brighten any child’s day!

When one of my daughters gets sick, I like to give her “first class” treatment. My mom always did this for me as a child, bringing me my food on my grandmother’s antique tray with flowers and a special drink (sprite is a special treat in our house!).

Well, last week my daughter had surgery on both legs and is now in casts for a month, so I need to step up my nursing duties a bit! I want to make the most of this down time at our house and encourage her frustrated little six year old spirit. So I’ve pulled together some low key activities for us to do together plus several of my sweet readers and friends have given me some helpful ideas. Any of these are enjoyable indoor activities for hot summer day and the gift ideas are perfect for a variety of occasions, including birthdays.

But first, the hospital tips:

What to Bring:

  • Blanket (it’s always so cold in waiting room!)
  • Comfortable clothes to leave hospital
  • Extra underwear
  • Socks
  • Favorite stuffed animal or lovey
  • iPad or iTouch; perhaps download some calming music
  • Earbuds or earphones
  • Backpack full of toys/activities including a notepad and pen
  • Barrette/rubber band for girls

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What to Do During Stay:

  • Dim the lights in the room. Makes it less start and more cozy!
  • Ask the nurses to give your child’s favorite stuffed animal whatever he/she has to do:  oxygen mask, cast, hospital gown, etc.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no (i.e. if they ask if a resident can be involved or if they want to film for a study).
  •  The nurse will probably tell you can’t walk back into the OR with your child but I have on many occasions. If you feel like your child needs it ask the doctor who is performing the procedure. My child gets a good laugh at me in scrubs and a hair cap!
  • Most hospital stays have “Child Life” specialists or chaplains that can bring activities or offer calming words for anxious children. Just request them!
  • Don’t let the recovery nurse push you to leave quickly after the procedure. You don’t want to leave the hospital until you know your child is okay after anethesia.
  • Hospitals err on the side of less medicine. I understand that, but I also don’t hesisate to ask for more than Tylenol if my child is hurting.
  • Ask a lot of questions. Ask them again if things aren’t clear.
  • Don’t be afraid to record what doctor or nurse says on your iPhone (just ask!).
  • Whenever your child is discharged, make sure you have a direct number for the doctor’s office (and not just a general hospital number).

Things to Make Hospital Stay Special:

  • Email friends or family or classmates’ mothers and ask for them to send a card or photo to decorate hospital room or to give when she returns home.
  • Buy a new special nightgowns or pajamas with favorite character to wear in hospital.
  • Special deliveries of flowers, cookies, balloons etc.
  • Video messages from their friends! This made my daughter so happy!

activities for children after surgery

Low Key Activites When You Get Home:

  • Arts and Crafts. Someone gave my six year old a Usborne Avtivity Book and it is more than just stickers and coloring pages! Michaels has a great activity set aisle if grandparents/friends ask for ideas!
  • Lego set (a small one!)
  • Playmobile
  • Play beauty shop by washing hair in the sink and setting up a chair in the living room for “styling” (good idea if they can’t take showers!)
  • Play restaurant with these notepads.
  • Set up two aisles of chairs and play airplane. Children can pretend to be the captain, flight atendant, and passengers.
  • Build a cozy fort with blankets and put favorite dolls or stuffed animals inside. Fun place to facetime family or read or listen to an audiobook.
  • Play school. (We love this schoolhouse set.)
  • Puzzles
  • Paper Dolls (these dolls on my Children’s Gift Idea tab can be printed instantly!)


Gift Ideas:

  • Any of the activity sets above!
  • American Girl Doll Cast. (If you send your doll off to the doll hospital for repair they will return her in a hospital gown, get well card, and hospital arm bracelet!).
  • Personalized Children’s Lap Tray
  • Personalized Clip Board.
  • Classic Doll Hospital Set.
  • Delivery of Tiff’s Treat, Cookie Bouquets, Sprinkles Cupcakes.
  • Card and gift card to get yogurt when feeling better. (Elementary aged children love getting gift cards for their wallets!).
  • Donut pillow.
  • More cute ideas for girls and boys:


Please add your gift ideas below!


Source for Top Photo: Cookie Bouquet from Cookies by Design






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