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"How can I explain a heart malformation surgery consultation to my child?"


My daughter has a heart malformation and will undergo surgery. She is scared.


This is a tough question to answer without knowing a little bit more about what type of heart malformation that your child has and how old she is. Generally most children do want to participate in their health care and want to know what is going on. Therefore, it is generally not a good idea to hide information from children (and they are intuitive and tend to know when you are trying to hide something from them anyway).

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Rather, it is best to try to explain what is going on to your child in a way that avoids big vocabulary or concepts that are above their developmental level. Your pediatric cardiology team will probably already have a lot of resources available for helping your child understand what is going on, so you should ask them for help with this. They may have coloring books and other activities, for example, that she can participate in to help her understand. Another great resource for you may be, depending on where you are, the hospital's child life department. Child life specialists are trained to engage in play and other forms of interactive therapy with children to help them through painful procedures and frightening medical environments.

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