A Child's Phases of Healing After a Hospital Stay

Emotional healing from a hospital stay means that your child will need to relive what has happened.

Older kids relive by talking about the hospital. Younger kids want to play out their experiences using toys and medical play kits.

You can help your child by talking and playing with them.

Healing Phases Your Child May Go Through After a Hospital Stay

The following outlines some phases your child may go through after coming home from the hospital.


  • Phase 1: Quiet play at home. Phone calls from friends.
  • Phase 2: Non-strenuous play outside. Seeking out friends for play.
  • Phase 3: Normal play and activities. Not relying on siblings for help with household chores.


  • Phase 1: Clinging to parents or known surroundings. Disrupted sleep and meal schedules. Short-term loss of independent behavior or skills.
  • Phase 2: Needing to "touch base" with parents at times. Expecting continued extra privileges or gifts.
  • Phase 3: Normal interactions with parents. Return to normal "rules" and independence.


  • Phase 1: Visits or special gifts from loved ones. Phone calls from relatives.
  • Phase 2: Short visits from your child's friends at your home. Easy trips to a loved one's home.
  • Phase 3: Resume normal visits. Staying overnight at a friend's or relative's house.


  • Phase 1: Some schoolwork at home. No school attendance. Tutor
  • Phase 2: Back to school part-time. Tutor.
  • Phase 3: Back to school full-time.