Parenting Education & Resources
Parenting can be a never-ending learning curve. In addition to advice from your provider, take advantage of a variety of Avera's educational resources for guidance with your child's development.
Resources for Parents
These resources are designed to help you develop the confidence and skills you need for parenting.
Preparing for Hospitalizations
Every stage in life presents its own set of challenges when it comes to hospitalization. As a parent, you'll want to understand as much as you can in order to help your child successfully transition through hospitalization and treatment. Keep these tips in mind when preparing your child for a hospital stay at any age.
Because infants have not yet developed advanced means of expression such as talking and gesturing, they are unable to tell you precisely what's wrong with them.
Understandably, this can lead to feelings of frustration and helplessness for many parents. While caring for your hospitalized infant, remember:
- Parent-child bonding is highly important at this stage. Infants respond positively to touch and physical closeness. As your child's condition allows, stay as close as possible to him/her.
- Your presence and reactions provide the best support in handling fear, pain and separations.
At this stage, children may view illness and injury as punishment for bad behavior. It's important to reassure your child that it's not his/her fault and that nothing involved in treatment (surgery, needle pokes, medicine, etc.) is a punishment. Rather, these are all important ways to help them be well again. Assist your preschooler during his or her time in the hospital by following these tips:
- Offer simple and truthful explanations to your child's questions. If you're unsure about an answer, consult with your doctor. Children at this stage feel a need to have a sense of mastery, which often means asking many questions.
- Prepare your child for what he or she will experience during his/her stay.
- Allow choices.
- Develop a routine and stick with it.
- Provide comfort items (favorite blanket or teddy bear) to help ease anxiety.
During school-age years, children begin to understand body processes and functions and wish to understand all they can about their illness or injury. As in earlier years, feelings that it's a punishment for bad behavior may occur, but may take some time to express. They may also become fearful of the loss of control or wholeness that an illness or injury can produce. You help your school-aged child deal with hospitalization when you:
- Provide simple, honest explanations. Your child will want to know about his/her illness and the procedures required. If you're unsure, ask your doctor.
- Help your child continue to do tasks and school assignments as able.
- Allow your child time to see and speak with friends.
Adolescents start to assert independence in all areas of life, including health-related issues. As a result, your child may rely less on family support. Instead, they may look for reassurance and acceptance from friends. However, there are still ways you can assist your adolescent in coping with illness and hospitalization. Take time to understand what your child is experiencing:
- Listen carefully to how he or she expresses him/herself. Your adolescent child will almost certainly wish to be involved in decisions bout care and treatment.
- Discuss expectations for privacy up-front. Privacy is also an important value for adolescents; one that can create tension.
- Encourage and support your child. Children at this stage want to be accepted by their peer groups and concerns about being "different" are often heightened and even more complicated during an illness or injury.
- Provide honest answers to questions related to health care.
- Help your child stay on a prescribed medical routine (therapy, medication, etc.). Adolescents may have difficulty following medical instructions, which may jeopardize their health.
- Allow time for open and honest discussion of hopes, dreams and fears. Adolescence is often a time for planning for the future and an illness or injury at this stage in life can call these plans into question.