When your child has to go into the hospital for a stay, it's daunting for everyone in the family, including your other children.
It's frightening for siblings to see another who has to go to the hospital, especially if the visits are frequent, which is common with children with special needs. Even if your other children are older and have a better understanding of their sibling's condition, they still may have a tough time dealing. In this blog, we're taking a look at advice from experts who work in pediatric care.
Experts advise parents to be as upfront and honest as possible with their other children about their sibling's health and the reasons for their hospital stays. Though our other kids may be physically healthy, they may feel emotionally distressed about the fact that we have to show so much attention to our child with special needs, as well as being frightened for what's happening with their sibling. Hospital stays mean at least one parent will be absent from the home much of the time, unable to give other children attention they need. Helping your kids to understand why we have to make sacrifices like this for their sibling prevents feelings of resentment, bitterness, jealousy, or anger toward you or their sibling.
An easy way to help your other kids to understand their sibling's need to spend time in the hospital is to involve them in the preparation and planning process. If your child is scheduled for surgery or a treatment that requires an extended stay, ask your other children to help you pick out fun games and books for their sibling to play with during their stay. Enlisting the other kids' help makes them feel as if they are helping to take care of their special needs sibling. When you have a break from the hospital, be sure to set aside private time for you and your other children. Give each of them one-on-one time if possible, even if it's just to read a bedtime story or help them with homework.
Believe it or not, simply doing what you can to keep your kids in the same routine they had before their sibling's hospital stay can help. Keeping the same routine going presents a sense of normalcy to them. You can do this by enlisting the other parent or a grandparent or close friend or relative to stay with your children at your own home while you're away at the hospital. Knowing that your kids are carrying on as usual can also help ease your own anxiety felt by being away from them.
If you have a laptop or tablet, communicate with your other kids through Skype and other means of communication. You can even help them with math problem through video calls online. You can also have your kids at home make a scrapbook or photo album for their sibling to look at. This gives the other kids another reason to help-out with their sibling, and it can help your child in the hospital remember happy times during tough days.
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