Secrets to Surviving Your Child’s Hospital Stay 

They didn’t even ask me to see my armband. My slippers, no make-up, and yoga pants earned me my meal discount all on their own.  

If you ever find yourself in the hospital for a while after a surgery for your child, there are a few important things to know. Hospital stays are trying and expensive, so any little help you can find makes a big difference!  

Many hospitals offer discounts on meals and at the gift shop if you show your parent arm band. This can help a ton when you are at the mercy of the cafeteria eating three meals a day for an extended period of time. I also found it was cheaper and more convenient to order a parent tray to be delivered to the room with my child’s tray. The hospital we were in charged a flat fee (much cheaper than the cafeteria) and it was good for the times I was alone with her to not have to leave the room.  

Ask your nurse or the family services coordinator about family amenities. The children’s hospital (we go to when Maddie needs to have surgery) has a family laundry room which helps so you don’t have to over-pack. (Although I still find myself with more junk than we ever need.) There is a family lounge where you can store things in the fridge, use a microwave, and get ice water and coffee. They also have a computer room that you can use if you need to print anything or check emails. I have needed a printer a couple of times in the hospital to print stuff out for our insurance company or for work.  

The biggest saving grace we have found on our stays for Maddie has been the free options for fun to keep our child happy and entertained. This children’s hospital has a family library where we could check out books and movies daily. I always make sure to grab an events calendar at the nurses’ station to tell us when they are doing something fun that will give Maddie a reprieve from being stuck in her room.  

Our favorite thing thus far has been bingo night where she raked in some fun toys!



They have volunteers that stop in and do arts and crafts with your child who can sometimes give you a 15 minute break to take a shower or just step out and breathe, if needed.

Maddie’s highlight has been the visits from the hospital clowns. It does your heart so much good to hear your child’s belly laugh in the midst of hard times.

I have found it is good to ask the nurse to place your child on the volunteer visit list to make sure they have a lot of fun visitors, if possible.  

Hospital stays are always tough but knowing some tricks to survival can really help. Just be careful to not be offended when youre tired. A haphazard look earns a parent discount without even flashing your wristband!  


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