Preparing Kids for Surgery With Coloring Books

Free Coloring Books for Surgery In English and Spanish

Children are unique surgery patients. They are extremely curious about what will be happening, and often ask many questions, yet they are very prone to misunderstandings and incorrect ideas of what will be happening. Quite simply, children can be a challenge to prepare for surgery, and it can be difficult to strike a balance between too much information and not enough.

Boy lying in hospital bed, coloring with adult woman at his side
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All parents want a child to be prepared for surgery without being terrified of what will happen during the operating room. Incorrect information can be worse than not enough information. Luckily, there are professionals who do this type of education for a living, helping parents discuss surgery in a way that is both age-appropriate and helpful. 

For small children, experts agree that coloring books and pages are a gentle way to introduce the idea of going to the hospital and having surgery to a child in a fun way that is non-threatening and encourages the child to ask questions about what they will experience. The facility where your child will be having their procedure may offer a coloring book that explains in detail how surgery is done at their individual location. If not, there are many other options available, and many are free. 

Surgery Coloring Books for Children

Experts agree that coloring books are a gentle and effective way to prepare a child for surgery. There are many coloring pages and books available to help children learn about surgery in a way that is not scary or intimidating and may clear up any misunderstandings your child may have.

Surgery can be difficult for adults to understand, for children it can be confusing and even terrifying. Introducing the topic of surgery in a way your child can easily understand (and find non-threatening) can be extremely helpful.

Free Surgery Coloring Books

Here is a small sample of the coloring books that are available for free on the internet. Be sure to read through the pages before giving them to your child, coloring pages are available for multiple age groups and on multiple topics that may or may not be appropriate for your child. 

  • Give the child a combination workbook and coloring book from Hopkins Children’s. Older children will especially enjoy the word jumbles, word finds, and fill-in areas. This printable book encourages the child to write about themselves, along with coloring pages that help parents answer their child's questions.
  • The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists coloring books titled, "Sweet Dreams at the Hospital," will help to prepare your child for surgery and anesthesia. You'll find them available in English and Spanish.

An internet search will provide many more options than those listed here, and there are often coloring books and pages that are specific to the procedure your child is having, such as an appendectomy. Be sure to look for pages that are not too difficult for your child, as the pages are often designed for specific age groups and their ability to understand complex information.

You may want to consider printing out two copies so that you can color along with your child, and encourage questions in a stress-free way.

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