Talking to Children about Cancer
A lot of people are frightened to mention the word ‘cancer’ to kids. You might not have the knowledge of what things to say if someone important to your kids has cancer.
Should you or someone else they love be diagnosed with cancer, it is very important to talk to your children shortly after the cancer diagnosis to establish trust and to help them comprehend what’s occurring. They’ll feel less fearful if they know you will always tell them what’s going on. Children feel frightened and alone when they have been told that “everything is well,” because they understand this isn’t accurate. They notice crying, whispering, changes in meal schedules and other family activities. Children have vivid imaginations, and also the things they imagine are worse than reality.
Assure your kids that you love them, and make sure to constantly have regular conversations in the days and weeks after diagnosis. Invite any questions they may ask and answer them honestly.
How to Describe what is Cancer
What you say about cancer will vary with respect to the age of your kids. Do not get overly technical with younger kids. Let them know that cancer is a thing that grows in the body and is not supposed to be there. It is like weeds in the garden. There are plenty of methods to do away with weeds (pulling, cutting, weed killer) and there are a lot of methods to take care of cancer (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, pills).
Clarify that occasionally you might be overly tired to play or snuggle. This really doesn’t mean they should be sad. It is natural and normal to feel disappointed in case your parent or grandparent is too worn out to play.
Tell the children of your hair loss before it occurs in the event you’re likely to lose your hair. Clarify that side effects like nausea, fatigue, and hair loss are indications that the treatment is working.
If your young ones ask if you’re going to die, do not offer false reassurances. Instead, react by saying, “I’ve great physicians who are doing everything they are able to in order to make me feel well. ” In case your cancer is advanced, tell them you’ve great physicians that are doing their best to treat it. And you will let them know of the treatment’s progress.
Suggestions for Helping Children Cope
It is OK to take the kids to the doctor’s visits with you if they want to go. It helps some kids to find out where you are going to get well. Clarify what’s happening to you. Consider giving younger children things like surgical gloves or tongue depressors as souvenirs.
If some days(like chemo days)are worse than the rest, consider having a special basket of toys/goodies that just comes out on those days. Another idea is to keep the kids’ minds as engaged as possible, with things at home or school, while you or a loved one is at the clinic. Through the snapfish promo code, these can be made into a photobook so that they can share with you.
The important thing to helping your kids cope with a cancer diagnosis will be to speak to them openly and frankly. Enable them to know they can always come for support or with questions to you, and that you adore them so much not to hide anything from them.