On Monday, I got the dreaded phone call from my kids’ school.
At first, I wasn’t concerned because last week, I also got a phone call (along with many other calls in the past few years). Last week, it was just a call informing me that my son fell and bumped his head, but he was fine.
Monday, however, was different.
Monday, it WAS the dreaded call. It was….
“Hello, this is the school calling. Your son was playing at recess and he got knocked over and cut his chin on the ice. We think you should come over as quickly as possible.”
Frankly, that is all I heard. I quickly grabbed some essentials (a clean Norwex Envirocloth, a juice box, a granola bar and a back up battery pack for my phone) and headed over to the school to assess the situation.
The cut was really bad, so I called the doctor’s office to ensure that they would be able to give him stitches if he needed them and they reassured me that they could.
After spending close to an hour at the doctor’s office, it was apparent that we needed to take him to the hospital instead. Oh, did I mention that on Monday, my daughter was also home sick? She was such a good big sister and a trooper throughout this whole experience.
We waited for a couple of hours at the hospital. It was a long wait and my son was extremely anxious, but there wasn’t much I could do other than distract him. He was so brave and I was a proud (and scared) Mom.
The doctor put a numbing gel on my son’s chin and after half an hour, he came back to give him 4 painless stitches. The process really was a piece of cake, once we had my son’s trust that it wouldn’t hurt and that we needed his cooperation to lie still for the doctor.
In the end, I learned that if my children ever need stitches again, we will go straight to the hospital. I love my family doctor, but she wasn’t prepared for a child needing stitches and the situation there only ramped up my son’s anxiety.
While I don’t wish stitches on anyone, many people throughout this process told me that this was just a rite of passage as a parent. A child needing stitches is more common than I realized. It’s amazing all of the stories that come out when you experience something like this.
One of the key things to helping your child stay calm is to be calm yourself. You may have to practice some of the following relaxation techniques yourself in order to stay calm for your child. Children sense fear and panic in others, so do your best to push those thoughts out of your mind and focus on keeping your child calm and comfortable.
5 Tips for Comforting Your Child When They Need Stitches
- Distraction – this is key as if you can successfully distract your child during the procedure, it will likely be done before they even realize it began!
- Relaxation – you can practice various deep and slow breathing techniques (big belly breathing, blowing pretend bubbles with your mouth, blow away scary feelings) as well as visualizing techniques (e.g. close your eyes and pretend you are on a beach). If your child enjoys listening to music, consider allowing them to plugin and listen for a while to help stay calm.
- Questioning and Games – Asking your child a lot of questions (favourite foods, activities etc. OR what would you do if…) will help to pass the waiting time AND provide a distraction as well. You can also try playing games like Eye Spy or a visual scavenger hunt.
- Honesty – If something is going to hurt, be honest with them, but keep the answer brief and minimal. Also, focus on what you will do AFTER the procedure is complete (e.g. have your child choose what dinner will be that night OR have a family movie night).
- Be An Advocate – Ask the doctor or hospital if they have a numbing gel that they can apply before the procedure to help your child not feel any discomfort.
Has your child ever had to get stitches?
What was your experience?