Preschoolers (3 – 5 years)
Play for preschoolers:
- Building structures that represent familiar things
- Coloring and drawing
- Show off their creations or accomplishments to others
- Pretend play. Preschoolers have great imaginations.
- Preschoolers are beginning to understand the concept of rules and boundaries
- They are not yet able to understand other's points of view
- They interpret words and phrases literally. Please use concrete meanings and explanations.
- Preschoolers' great imaginations can lead to misconceptions about the hospital
Common stressors and fears of preschoolers in the hospital:
- Misconceptions arising from inability to distinguish reality and fantasy. For example, a child might fear that hospitalization/illness is a punishment for wrong-doing.
- Fear of long separation from loved ones
- Fear of loss of control
- Fear of bodily injury or harm
What you can do to help while your preschooler is in the hospital:
- Reassure your child that hospitalization, treatments and procedures are not punishment and that he/she has done nothing wrong.
- Be honest with your child and tell him/her the truth in clear explanations
- Continue to set normal limits and provide structure
- Participate in your child's care and give positive reinforcement