Five ways to help children cope with pain

pain

Aches and scrapes are part and parcel of growing up, but that doesn’t meant it’s easy on our kids. Luckily, there are ways to help them cope when we’re cleaning up their cuts and bruises.

We asked charity TLC for Kids to share five tips to help divert youngsters’ attention whether they’re receiving first aid, a medical procedure or a vaccination.

  • Use developmentally appropriate language and explain to your child honestly what they will feel, hear and see, and if it will hurt.
  • When removing a Band-Aid, draw a funny face on it, pop some baby oil on a cotton swab and rub it around the edge of the plaster for pain-free removal. Make sure the child’s favourite toy is close by.
  • Ask your child to blow out their pain by blowing bubbles, or using a pinwheel or a whistle. For added encouragement, tell them that if they give the whistle three to six big blows, they can keep the whistle.
  • Tell your child a story, and ask them to add details – for example, they can name the colour of the bird or the grass, or what sort of vehicle is being driven.
  • A favourite one is to have your child singing along to their favourite song or movie while you are removing a Band-Aid or splinter.

TLC for Kids executive manager Ana Darras is well versed in techniques to help children cope with their ills – the national charity provides Distraction Boxes to hospitals across Australia for patients on children’s wards. The boxes are full of activities, from colouring books to puzzles, games, bubbles and more, and provide a handy diversion for kids (and medical staff) when inserting IVs, taking blood or getting ready for surgery, among other things.

The charity, which operates in hospital right across Australia, also helps young hospital patients and their families through its Rapid TLC program – read our posts on how it helped a special baby girl and her family during a lengthy hospital stay and a girl who was on the brink of death until TLC arranged to fly her best friend from Tasmania to her Victorian hospital.

Babyology is supporting TLC for Kids’ wonderful work through our Christmas Care campaign. We’ve teamed up with sponsors to donate more than $42,000 of products to help TLC support families of children in hospital. We’re also encouraging our readers to get into the giving spirit by donating directly to this very special cause.

Generous sponsors Chuckles, Babes in Arms, Crayola, Aussie Wipes, Oricom, Baby Bjorn, Walnut, Babynest, and Johnson and Johnson have given items including baby monitors, shoes, colouring sets, potties, baby carriers, wipes, baby care products and toys, which are all winging their way to TLC’s Melbourne HQ. They will be stored in the charity’s warehouse, ready to be sent out at a moment’s notice to families in need – and help provide a much-needed distraction or ray of hope in a very difficult time.

What’s your best tip for helping a child through pain or illness? Tell us below.

Michelle Rose

Michelle Rose

Michelle is a journalist and mum to two girls who are obsessed with dinosaurs, fairies, pirates and princesses in equal measure. She lives in Melbourne's east with her husband, daughters and a giant, untameable labradoodle. Michelle loves all things vegetarian, wine (it's a fruit) and online shopping.

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