Advocacy Children's Health

What to do to prepare your child for their surgery

“Your child needs surgery,” says the doctor.

Every member of the family feels the anxiety attached to those words. You want your child to be well, but “surgery” is an uncomfortable subject. What can family members and caregivers do to help ease some of the anxiety the child feels?

Preparing your child emotionally

If your child is over seven years of age you should start preparing for their stay one to two weeks before admission. Thoroughly explain to your child the need for surgery or hospitalization. As the date of admission approaches, allow and encourage your child to express feelings appropriately, and be sure to discuss the child’s fears. When the time comes, allow your child to help pack his/her own suitcase.

Encourage your child to make a list of questions for the hospital staff. Adolescents should be given as many choices as possible regarding their care, and their need for privacy should always be respected. You should talk positively about going to the hospital a few days prior to admission and assure your child that he/she will be able to reconnect with friends and activities as soon as the doctor permits.

Monitor your child before the procedure

Contact the Pre-op clinic at 706-721-5229 if your child experiences any of the following:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cold (runny nose, cough)
  • Rash in the diaper area
  • Exposure to a contagious disease.

The staff can tell you if the surgery should be rescheduled.

Preparing for the Procedure

It is important to make sure all pre-operative bathing and dietary instructions given by the pre-op clinic are followed.

You should be prepared to spend the night with their child and to make arrangements for siblings to stay with friends or relatives. Be prepared to give the patient your undivided attention

The Day of the Procedure

Report with your child to Patient Access on the first floor of the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

Participate in the child’s care during their stay in the Pre-op and Recovery rooms. Up to two family or friends are allowed to visit these rooms.

Let the nursing staff know if you would like to visit and stay in the operating room until your child falls asleep.


The staff at the children’s hospital encourage caregivers to voice any concerns or to ask any questions they may have about their child’s care or treatment at any time.

You can expect to receive a follow-up phone call one to three days after surgery. Afterward, CHOG will also send a survey in the mail asking about your child’s experience.

The staff at CHOG strives to anticipate the needs of the patient as well as the family. We offer child life specialists who are specially trained in child development and are skilled at working with children and their families.

For more information about CHOG’s pediatric surgery group or child life specialists, call 706-721-KIDS (5437) or visit the website at



About the author

Children's Hospital of Georgia

Children's Hospital of Georgia

Children’s Hospital of Georgia is the only facility in the area dedicated exclusively to children. It staffs the largest team of pediatric specialists in the region who deliver out- and in- patient care for everything from common childhood illnesses to life-threatening conditions like heart disorders, cancer and neurological diseases.