The importance of distraction techniques

Distraction techniques at workStarlight knows that medical treatments and procedures can be especially scary for children, creating feelings of powerlessness, fear and anxiety.

The Starlight Distraction Box is full of sensory toys and activities that can be used for a range of age groups. It is incredibly useful for Hospital Play Specialists and other healthcare professionals when using distraction techniques with children, as it can help create a calmer and better treatment experience. For these children, the treatment and procedure can seem less scary and uncontrollable. For parents, they can contribute positively in helping their child to cope.

Distraction through play is not a diversion from reality, but helps to raise coping skills. It goes hand in hand with preparing children through age appropriate play to understand their treatment and health needs. Such participatory play between staff, child and parents encourages the child to cope with any negative feelings, fear and pain.

Distraction can also be used to help a child to cope with waiting before treatment, to lessen the build up of anxiety as much as is possible, and also after treatment to help a child calm down again and get back to normal activities.

However the child copes, praise should be given especially as bravery takes many different forms. The Starlight Superstar stickers provided in the box can help you to praise and reward each child.

Compiled with the kind help of Alison Webster, Hospital Play Services Manager and Play Therapist