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Sick parent: how to talk about it with his child In 2021?

Sick parent In this sheet

  • When to talk about it?
  • How to announce the illness of a parent to his child?
  • The importance of keeping the child’s routines
  • How to stay close to your child?
  • To remember

If you need to be hospitalized or ill due to cancer or chronic disease (e.g. arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis), it is important to let your child know. Here are many tips for speaking to him about this delicate topic.

When to talk about it?

It is best to wait until you are well informed about the disease and what treatments are needed before talking to your child. It will allow you to explain your condition better and answer its questions. Pick a quiet time where the whole family has time to not be in a rush.

If you can, you should bring up the subject yourself. Your partner can complete your sentences as needed if nervousness or emotion takes hold. It is good to announce the disease to all the children in the family at the same time. So even if the little ones don’t understand everything landscape drawing. they won’t feel like they’re being pushed aside.

How to announce the illness of a parent to his child?

It is advisable to talk about the disease in simple words. Here are some ideas to help you broach the subject.

  • Talk about any symptoms the child may have seen and what treatment is planned. It is not worth giving a lot of details. For example, you can say, “Do you know that I have difficulty walking because my knee hurts? The doctor is going to operate on me to treat my ailment. You can also say, “You saw that I had a lot of back pain these days.” It’s because of a disease called arthritis. I’ll take some medicine to make it less painful. “

A child adapts better to changes when they are well explained how things are going to turn out.

  • Also, favour simple explanations for cancer, which is not visible. You can say, “I found a lump in my breast. The doctor told me it was a problem called cancer. I’m going to go to the hospital to take some medicine that will help me heal. “
  • Invite your child to ask questions. It allows you to understand what your child needs to know.
  • Come back to the topic the next day or a few days later to ask your child if there are worrying things. The child may be afraid of being abandoned. So he needs to know that there will always be someone to take care of him.

The importance of keeping the child’s routines

During your illness and your treatments, try as much as possible to keep the same routines for your child. You can also tell him in advance how things are going to be to reassure him. For example, say to him: “While dad is going to the hospital, it’s Grandma who will pick you up from daycare. “

If your child needs to be looked after, it is also best to have it in your home. This way, he will stay in his business and be less disturbed by your situation.

How to stay close to your child?

If you have to stay in bed or are in the hospital, here are some ideas for bonding with your child.

  • Invite your little one to your bed to read a story, rock him or listen to a show together.
  • Do calm activities with him, such as a puzzle, drawing, or a board game.
  • Bring a picture, drawing, or doggie of your child if you are in the hospital, and leave one of your clothes, such as a sweater, to keep your scent.
  • Be part of the hospital’s bedtime routine, calling your little one to sing them a song and say goodnight.

Don’t be afraid of emotions.

If your child catches you crying, it is best to explain your grief. For example, say, “Mom is crying because she is in pain” or “Dad is crying because he is sick of being sick. It will reassure your child because what worries them more is not understanding why you are crying. Also, try to put words to his emotions. For example: “I understand that you are sad because I have less time to play with you. Just naming her emotions might soothe your child.

To remember

  • It is important to use simple words to announce the illness and invite the child to ask questions.
  • Remember to keep the same routines with your child despite the illness to reassure him.
  • The sick parent can stay connected with their child by doing calmer activities with them.


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