Tips for Talking with Kids
Cancer is a serious disease that impacts the lifestyle of everyone in the family, regardless of age. It is impossible to shelter children from the harsh realities of a family member’s struggle with cancer.
We offer these tips to help you help them understand what’s going on around them.#1: Give simple, accurate, and honest information – a little at a time. #2: Use words they’ll easily understand to explain the basics. #3: During a hospital stay, use a smartphone to let kids talk to and see for themselves their loved one in real-time. #4: When routines are disrupted, record messages, lullabies, and other exchanges so they can be played later, at home. #5: Set one time each day when kids can ask questions, and share their feelings. #6: Give them creative, non-verbal ways to express their worries: in pictures, in writing, in music. #7: It’s OK to be happy and have some fun; cancer is just one part of a whole life. #8: Appropriate to their age, let kids help – around the house, or caring for the patient. #9: Recognize any outbursts as a sign of the child’s frustration and, when correcting, gently suggest alternative ways to express their feelings. #10: Arrange for them to get a tour of the hospital or clinic and meet the staff who will care for their family member.
If a teen or child in your life has been affected by cancer… Cancer Care Services is here to help them, offering counseling and play therapy for children, teens, and young adults.