Cancer often sneaks up when you least expect it, turning your world and your family’s world upside down. Young children have a very difficult time learning to cope with cancer becoming part of their life because of all the changes the family will experience and the numerous questions they have. While coping with cancer is in no way easy, there are 5 tips that can help your children cope when cancer has rocked your family’s world.
Tip #1: Let Them Know What’s Going On
Explain to your child what is going on. Use age appropriate terms for the children to understand. Depending on your child’s age, you should determine just how much information you will share with them about the severity of the cancer. Let the children know it will be a very difficult time for everyone, which is why the support of the family is essential. It is very important your child knows about the situation so they are not caught off guard by the cancer and the changes.
Tip #2: Talk about the Changes
You need to talk about the changes that are going to occur while the family copes with cancer. Explain the physical changes that will occur, such as hair loss, decreased weight, and fatigue. Preparing the children for what they are going to see will make the situation less scary for them once it does occur.
Tip #3: Remain Honest
While helping children cope with cancer, it is important you remain honest with them to keep their trust. If they ask you if you are scared, it is ok to tell them you are, but reassure them that everything will be alright. By remaining honest with your children while coping with cancer they will feel safer because they will know they are in a trusting environment.
Tip #4: Maintain a Routine
Children feel safe and comfortable when they are products of a routine. Even though cancer is turning your family’s entire world upside down, try to maintain a daily routine as much as possible. This will show your children that there is a tomorrow and although, the family is going through drastic changes, the family will continue to maintain a certain sense of normalcy.
Tip #5: Spend Quality Time Together
While coping with cancer it is vital to spend quality time with all the children. This is absolutely essential for a child’s sense of safety and overall well being. While it may be difficult to spend quality time together with all the doctors appointments and treatments, you must spend this time together to build a strong family unit, which will increase support for one another while the family copes with the cancer.
Resources for coping with cancer:
“Cancer Diagnosis” Mayoclinic.com