How To Prepare For Your Toddler’s Surgery

Image via Arthouse Design
Image via Arthouse Design

Any parent will tell you that having a sick child, or child in pain, is pretty much the worst feeling in the world. You would give anything to be able to take that hurt away, but sometimes you just can’t do it. I’ve been lucky enough to not have to deal with any major illnesses in my children, but I have had to go through rounds of tubes in the ears of both of my daughters, and most recently my two year-old had a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. That surgery is a nightmare. There is no getting around that fact. I thought I was prepared for our recovery, but looking back, I wasn’t. So in the spirit of helping other parents who might have to face the same or a similar surgery, here are my tips for preparing your child.




  • Here in Colorado, we are lucky enough to have the amazing Children’s Hospital Colorado. The facilities are absolutely top notch and they have everything you could possibly need for your kids. For you though, not so much. If you are planning on a night in the hospital, best prepare yourself for some pretty uncomfortable chair sleeping. Bring a nice pillow from home. And a blanket, or a sheet, or whatever might make you feel more cozy. Bring the same for your little one.
  • Bring your kid’s favorite stuffy or book, but leave most of the toys at home if you are going to the Children’s Hospital. They have amazing play rooms with tons of toys and volunteers will come by offering books, toys and more.
  • If you are doing a tonsillectomy, consider bringing a cooler with your kiddos favorite yogurt or soft food. Hospital food sucks. There’s just no way around it. Yes, of course they have yogurt, Jell-o, Popsicles, etc., but when you are desperate to get your kid to consume something, it never hurts to have their favorites around.
  • Talk to your kids about what is going to happen. Of course, it depends on their age, but even though she’s only two, we had a conversation about how she’d have an owie, how she’d need to take the medicine we gave her, and if she ate a popsicle, she’d feel better. It didn’t really work, but I felt better for having tried. Kids are people, too.
  • Anesthesia does weird things to people. Be prepared to meet someone who does not remotely resemble your child when they wake up. My little one was a cranky, sobbing mess. Some kids are loopy and funny, a la David after Dentist. Some are angry and even have to be restrained.
  • Take care of yourself. It’s easy to neglect self-care when you are worried about your kids. So, if your neighbor says she’ll make chicken noodle soup, say “thank you.” If you’re sister says she’ll bring coffee, say “great.” If the nurses ask if they can get you anything, say an extra pain pill a glass of water for mommy would be nice.

Going through a surgery, routine or not, can be a physically and emotionally exhausting experience, but hopefully you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel soon and your kiddo will be back to death defying playground stunts in no time.

Has your child gone through a surgery recently? Did I miss any tips you’d give to parents?


  1. i am about to go through the tubes adenoidectomy & tonsillectomy with my 4 year old at Children’s Would love to know more about your experience! I am very nervous ?


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