Helping Kids Relax During Medical Tests

Most kids with CF have to go to hospital or have medical tests like needles, PICC lines or port flushes done at some stage. This can make you feel worried, nervous or scared. There are different things you can do which help distract your brain from what’s going on and can make you feel calmer and less worried.

You can practice these at home as much as you like, in fact, the more you practice, the better.

Calm Breathing

Step 1: Sit or lie in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and relax.

Step 2: Take a deep breath in by breathing in through your nose.

Step 3: Let it out slowly through your mouth. You can make a hissing sound (sssssssssss) if you like. Try and relax your body while you are doing this.

Step 4: You may want to say the word “calm” in your mind while you are breathing out. You may notice that as you breathe out, the scary feelings seem to go away.

Muscle Relaxation

This works best if you are able to sit in a comfortable chair, but you can also do them while in bed. You will need to squeeze tight the muscles in each of the following body parts, hold it while you count to 8 and then relax it.


Pretend you have a tennis ball in your left hand. Squeeze the ball really hard. Count to 8 while you squeeze, then let go and relax. Let your hand and arm go all floppy and soft. Doesn’t it feel good now? Take the ball in your right hand and do the same.


Pretend you are a weight lifter. Your arm muscles are very strong. Flex your muscles and show us how big they are. Hold this position while you count to 8, then relax. See how good your arms feel when they relax.


Pretend that you are having your morning stretch. Stretch your arms right up to the sky, as far as you can reach. Count to 8, then relax. Let your arms drop down to your sides and relax. Notice how good they feel whn they are soft and floppy.


Pretend that you have just bitten into a hard biscuit. Bite down on it. Use your neck and jaw muscles. Then relax. You still haven’t managed to bite some off. Have another go and bite really hard. Now relax as the biscuit melts in your mouth.


Pretend that a little butterfly has landed on your nose. Try to get him off without using your

hands. Screw your nose up really tightly and count to 8. Great, he has flown away. Oh, no, he has landed on your forehead! Wrinkle up your whole face and count to 8. Great, he has gone for good now. Relax. Your face now feels smooth and relaxed.


Pretend that you are trying to button up a pair of jeans, but they are too tight around the waist. You squeeze your tummy muscles in while you try to do up the button. You just can’t get them done up. Relax. Try again. Suck your tummy in tightly and count to 8. Relax. See how good your stomach feels when it is relaxed!

Legs and feet

Pretend that you are lying on the soft sand at the beach. Wriggle your toes in the sand. Dig your toes into the sand. Push your heels down into the sand and count to 8. Relax. Squish your toes into the sand again and press your feet into the sand. Relax. See how good they feel when they are relaxed.

Mind Pictures

You can make a mind picture by using your imagination to focus on pictures in your mind. Close your eyes and let your muscles go all soft and floppy. Imagine a place that is warm, safe and makes you feel happy. You could imagine that you are at the beach, swimming under water, in a garden, in fairyland, at the circus, on an island, in space, at the zoo or in a jungle. Pick a space that you find relaxing and think…

  • What can you see?
  • What are you wearing?
  • Who is with you?
  • What are you doing?
  • What can you smell?
  • What can you touch?
  • What can you hear?

Busy Brainwaves

Keep your mind busy during a test, such as:

  • Look at the pictures and paintings on the walls and ceiling and think of a story to go with them.
  • Read a book
  • Watch television
  • Listen to music
  • Draw a picture
  • Write a letter or story
  • Play a game or do a puzzle
  • Play cards
  • Blow bubbles
  • Play with your toys
  • Talk to the nurses

Positive Self-talk

Positive self-talk can help you to handle difficult situations. When you feel scared, nervous or angry you can help yourself to feel better by using positive thoughts, like:

Instead of saying “I don’t like this doctor because he put a drip in me” you could say, “This doctor did a good job. I needed to have a drip so that I can have the medicine to make me better.”

Another example might be: “Hospital is ok, there are some fun things to do here” rather than “I don’t like hospital.”


These techniques are from the KKIND team. KKIND can also provide support during hospital admissions if you are feeling scared or nervous. You can ask your nurse about them.

Article from Rozee Magazine, 2019.

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