After Your Child’s Procedure at Children’s Hospital Colorado

Parents and caregivers can use the following tips to help children adjust after a procedure.

At home:

  • Stock up on simple foods and drinks such as broth, apple juice, Kool-Aid, popsicles and Jell-O.
  • Start with soft, bland foods when your child is ready to try something more filling. (Your child should start to feel hungry in 12 to 24 hours.)
  • Work up to their normal foods.
  • Plan some quiet play and games; your child may be tired and sore.
  • Gently ease them back into their normal routine.
  • You may need to limit their movements for a brief time after their surgery/procedure (kids may be uncoordinated or confused for up to 24 hours after a procedure and/or anesthesia).
  • Let siblings know their brother or sister will need to take it easy for a while.
  • A new book or toy can make coming home a celebration.

Behavior changes may happen after a surgery/procedure

  • Children may act differently after a surgery/procedure. These behavior changes are normal, especially for young children who have less ability to understand and talk about it.
  • For most children, behavioral changes after a surgery/procedure last no more than two weeks.
  • Young children may need more attention and may act cross and demanding. They may have nightmares, poor appetites or bathroom accidents, even if they are toilet trained.
  • Older children may act younger, test limits or become withdrawn or clingy.
  • Support your child’s return to a normal routine by:
    • Being understanding
    • Setting gentle limits
    • Encouraging independence
    • Giving them chances to play and talk about their surgery/procedure

If you are concerned about your child’s actions following a surgery/procedure, call your doctor’s office or the specialist who performed the surgery/procedure.