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How to Prepare a Child for a Tonsillectomy

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
How to Prepare a Child for a Tonsillectomy
A doctor checks a young boy's tonsils in hospital. Photo Credit LeventKonuk/iStock/Getty Images

A child who is prepared for the tonsillectomy procedure generally adjusts better to the surgery and recovery than children who receive no proper preparation, notes a study in "Pediatrics," the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. That's why it's so important to make sure that your child is well prepared for the surgical procedure. He may be nervous of the medical jargon and tools that are used during a tonsillectomy, but as a parent you can explain things in understandable terms so that he is at ease with the procedure.

Step 1

Talk to your child about why her doctor has decided on a tonsillectomy as the best course of action for her health. It may be because she has chronic tonsil infections, trouble breathing or other problems from enlarged tonsils, points out the Mayo Clinic. Helping your child to understand why the procedure is being done can help her look forward to a change in her lifestyle.

Step 2

Walk your child through the procedure so that he knows what to expect. Let him know that, according to KidsHealth.org, the procedure only takes 20 minutes and the recovery time in the hospital is around eight hours. Your doctor may even allow you to visit the hospital before the procedure so that your child becomes used to the rooms and the area of the hospital where he will stay.

Step 3

Review the recovery process with your child. Let her know that her throat will be sore when she wakes up from surgery, and that it's normal. Let her know that although it might hurt for a short while, the procedure will make her throat better in the long run. Talk about the time she'll miss from school, and that she should be back to normal after a week.

Step 4

Shop with your child and allow him to pick out his favorite soft treats to enjoy after the surgery. These soothing treats can give him something to look forward to afterward. Ice cream, ice pops and flavored applesauce are good choices.

Step 5

Give your child a favorite comfort item right before going into surgery. Although she won't be able to take it with her into the operating room, she can give it a squeeze if she's scared, and then you can hold onto it so that she can have it in the recovery room. A beloved, familiar item like a blanket or a stuffed animal can make her feel relaxed and more at home in the unfamiliar setting of the hospital.

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