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 downtime 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 a 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!

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Low Key Activities 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” (a 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 attendant, 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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