Having to go to hospital is scary at any age. The strange smell, the noise from machines and equipment and just the general unease about what is going to happen to you all go together to make hospitals something that most people are a little fearful of. A trip to hospital for a child is even more frightening especially if that trip is for surgery or involves a blood test or X-Ray. But a new resource created by a mum on a mission, is aiming to make the hospital a slightly less daunting place for infants.
The Monkey Wellbeing resources have been created by Helen Saddler. She wanted to make her 18 month old daughter’s operation stress free, and did this by creating a true life book showing all the different parts of a hospital, the sights, sounds and smells, and all the different people you meet in a hospital setting. But what made this book so child friendly is that everything is being seen through the eyes and mind of a rather adorable monkey who is about to have an operation. Monkey asks all the questions that a child might ask, and so these questions are answered in a very child friendly form.I was sent a set of the resources to share with Joe, my five-year-old. Joe has spent time in hospital in the last few years due to suffering with viral tonsillitis which causes dangerously high temperatures. On his last visit he experienced a chest X-Ray, numerous blood tests and examinations and had his temperature taken daily. I thought it would be interesting to see how he reacted to the stories and monkey, and whether he would recognise any of his own experiences in Monkey’s story.
Joe fell in love with Monkey. He loved the fact that it is in puppet form (he is currently obsessed with Sooty so this may explain why). Puppet form means that an adult can use it to tell the stories but Joe liked to work it himself and kept commenting on just how cute and cuddly Monkey was. He also decided to call it ‘Milkshake Monkey’ after a famous television character from Channel 5.
He also loved the books and totally identified with what was happening in each story (the second concerns Monkey having a blood test – something that Joe had last year.) He was able to discuss when he had his blood test – he remembered the freezing Jelly and that this stopped his hand from hurting when the needle went in. Joe was also really interested in the story of the operation, wanting to turn the pages quickly to see what happened next.
There are further resources in the pack including stickers and an activity book containing games and information sheets. These make this a great classroom resource as well as great fun to use at home. I really hope the series continues to grow – an X-Ray experience book would be another great idea.
To find out more, visit the Monkey Wellbeing website http://www.monkeywellbeing.com/