Children take their cues from the emotions and actions of parents and other significant people in their life.
If you are anxious or show upset about a procedure, your child is likely to respond with anxiety and upset.
If you stay calm, you will be more able to offer support, and your child will be more likely to stay calm too.
Seek Help for Yourself
When you are stressed and anxious about an upcoming procedure for your child, please seek out the support you need to be as calm as possible. Stress reducing strategies include deep breathing, meditation, yoga, exercise, listening to music and doing a favourite activity. Talking to a counselor or medication may sometimes be necessary.
Try some of these 45 practical approaches to help calm both body and mind. You are more likely to use self-care tools when they are most needed if you have already practiced them, prepared, and have any necessary supplies to hand.
Your Child Can Hear What You Say
Conversations with family, friends and other adults can be witnessed and overheard by your child. Bare this in mind when discussing your feelings about procedures with other people, whether by telephone or in person.
Avoid making statements like: “Oh he won’t let you do that” or “No he can’t do ….. [procedure]”.
These negative statements can sabotage your child’s successes. He may become more upset and resistant when undergoing a new examination or procedure, since you already believe and have stated that he is unable to do it.
Try to approach new procedures as a challenge that you and your child can face together, and be successful in together.
Help Keep Procedures Calm With ONE VOICE
Hospitals and retinoblastoma treatment can be scary, overwhelming experiences for young children. Especially so when they are surrounded by medical professionals, all talking to (and over) one another, giving instructions, drowning out a trusted person’s voice, and attempting to placate and gain the child’s co-operation. The child becomes more confused and distressed as sound and activity in the room escalates.
A child’s medical experience can radically improve when they are supported through procedure by just ONE VOICE, creating a calm, quiet, reassuring environment.
See the difference between the two scenarios in this short video…
ONE VOICE was developed by Debbie Conkin, a Certified Child Life Specialist who recognized the negative impact of too many adult voices surrounding a frightened child in the medical environment. Using ONE VOICE creates a less-threatening, more child-centred environment for young patients. The ONE VOICE acronym stands for:
One voice should be heard during the procedure
Need for parental involvement
Educate the patient before the procedure about what is going to happen
Validate the child with your words
Offer the child the most comfortable, non-threatening position
Individualize your game plan
Choose appropriate distraction to be used
Eliminate unnecessary people who are not actively involved with the procedure
Using ONE VOICE, just one designated person will speak with your child throughout the entire procedure. That might be you as their parent or carer, their child life specialist, a nurse, doctor, technician, or other person involved in the procedure. The designated person will provide distractions and coach your child through the procedure. Allowing only that one voice eliminates unnecessary noise to create a calm, reassuring space around your child. This also creates a safer working environment for the medical professionals providing care, allowing them to focus on their specific roles in the procedure, and work together on its effective completion.
To date, One Voice has been introduced into more than 100 hospitals across North America and around the world, thanks to the advocacy of child life specialists and hospital play specialists. Ask your medical team about how ONE VOICE can support your child through medical procedures.