My Son is Having a Tonsillectomy {Tips for Before, During and After Surgery}

As a young adult at 19, I had surgery that involved having my tonsils removed. I remember being in tons of pain and drinking copious amounts of smoothies and frozen coffee. I have memories of laying in bed for what felt like weeks. So when I was told my 5 year old would need surgery that included having his tonsils and adenoids removed, I had a wave of sadness come over me. I didn’t want my little guy to be in so much pain like I was!

I started asking family, friends and Facebook for advice for his upcoming surgery. I wanted him to be comfortable during his recovery and I also wanted to be prepared. Here are some tips that I found to be helpful through this experience.

Prior to Surgery

  • Take your little one shopping for sweets and treat! My son and I went to Trader Joes and filled up his little shopping cart with goodies. Stock up on jello (not the red kind though, since you will be looking for blood!), pudding, popsicles and ice cream.
  • Get a new cup or tumbler. Drinking is the biggest hurdle during this recovery. Dehydration is a real thing after this surgery, so drink up! Make drinking fun and let your child pick out a fun cup to have him/her excited about drinking.
  • Load up on liquids. We filled the fridge up with drinks our son loves. Apple juice and sports drinks are his jam, so we made sure to have those on hand.
  • Have your medicine cabinet ready. In addition to the pain medicine from the doctor, you will be giving over the counter medicine around the clock the first few days.

Day of Surgery

  • Make sure to follow the nurses instructions regarding eat and drinking prior to surgery.
  • Bring a stuffed animal or favorite toy. My son loves his sock monkey, so we took him to the hospital with us. Sock Monkey was with him during the whole process and even went into surgery with him. This was a huge comfort to him.
  • Bring an iPad/tablet. Pre-Op can take a bit of time and trying to keep your young child occupied can be challenging. We brought the iPad and put on his favorite show.

Recovery at Home

  • If they want to eat, let them. Hours after surgery my son wanted Chick Fil A, so we let him go for it! He shocked us all by eating his complete meal.
  • Drink, drink, drink! Push liquids at all times. Dehydration is real. Their throat will be killing them but it’s very important they drink as often as possible.
  • Stay on top of pain medication. My son would start to feel pain as soon as it was time for more medicine. Set an alarm on your phone to stay on top of it, especially for those doses over night.
  • Rest! This was the hardest thing for my son. He is always up and running, so for him to stay still for a week to recovery was torture for him. Find some new movies, buy some books and encourage your child to stay on the bed or on the couch to rest up.

I’m happy to say we are two weeks out from surgery, and my son is now back to normal and at school. It wasn’t an easy experience, but it was much needed for my son’s health.

Has your child had a tonsillectomy? Anything you would add? 

Mary Olivio
Mary is a caffeine addicted boy mom to Noah, Liam and Luke. This “stay at home” mom can typically been found cruising in her minivan, jamming to Beyonce with a Starbucks in hand on her way to carpool or after school activities. Mary has been married to her high school sweetheart since 2007. She is a founder of Delivering Hope NOLA and the Vanessa Wolff Scholarship Fund at her Alma Mater. Mary is passionate in the local preemie community and has been heavily involved with the March of Dimes since her sons Liam and Luke were born premature.


  1. I totally agree that on the day of surgery you should be the sweetest mom ever and bring everything your child might want or ask for. My son is 3, and the doctors say that he might need to have a surgery when he is a bit older because of his heart condition. I will make sure to support him as much as possible as he is the most precious thing I have in my life!


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