Three Tips to Comfort Your Child

Parents and caregivers play a vital role in reducing the pain and anxiety that may be caused by medical procedures.  At Shriners Hospitals for Children, child life specialists recommend using these 3 strategies to ease stress and comfort your child.

  1. Comfort Positions

Control is the key to cooperation and how you hold your child can maximize their sense of control and cooperation during medical procedures. Here are three examples of how to hold your child in a comforting position.

  1. Coping Techniques
  • Speak in a calm voice
  • Praise your child
  • Rub your child’s arm, forehead or cheek
  • Position yourself so that your child can see and touch you
  • Be honest
  • Hold your child’s hand
  • Provide distraction as appropriate
  1. One Voice
  • 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 a child with your words
  • Offer the patient the most comfortable, non-threatening position
  • Individualize your game plan
  • Choose appropriate distraction/coping techniques to be used
  • Eliminate unnecessary staff who are not actively involved with the procedure

For procedures big and small, the Child Life team is always ready to help our patients and families.

Child Life specialists engage kids before and after surgery and during the recovery process. They introduce coping strategies and distraction therapy to put play into the child’s hospital stay.   Experts in child development, child life specialists work in partnership with doctors, nurses and other health professionals to introduce age-appropriate play and education that meets the emotional, developmental and cultural needs of each patient. Child Life specialists promote family-centered care by providing support to families of kids in the hospital.


  1. Thank you. You are spot on with these 1 – 2 – 3 Strategic tips in comforting your child. I’m afraid in some of the work these awesome tips would benefit children as well as families as a whole if they were employed during medical visits, stays AND at home. Thanks again.

  2. I’ve been surfing online more than hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. I’m looking for my daughter. Thanks for the great tip

  3. My sister has a hard time when taking her kids to the doctor. like you said, holding your child in a way so they can see you, and holding their hands could help you keep control. I will let her know about your article, so next time she goes, she will be prepared.

  4. My sister is searching for a pediatric to take her child to get an appointment. I like how you mentioned while you are at a pediatric appointment you should talk to your child in a calm voice to keep them relaxed. Thank you for the advice. I’ll share this information with my sister so she can know what to do at her child’s appointment.

  5. Thank you for your tip to use the acronym “one voice” to remember how best to comfort your child at the hospital. I am a fairly new mother and I am worried that my little girl will get sick after hours, and I won’t know what to do! I want to comfort and help my child in every situation and so I guess I should look for local urgent care facilities in case She needs it!

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Please call our Referral Center to schedule an appointment, call (916) 453-2191 or via email at A Referral Coordinator will partner with you to gather the necessary information to allow our physician leadership to evaluate the best path for your child.
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