When a child you know is diagnosed with cancer, you may feel helpless, but there is actually a lot you can do to assist a child through their struggle with cancer.
- Talk to them about their diagnosis
Ensure that the child understands that their diagnosis is not their fault. Educate yourself about their specific type of cancer so you can help walk the child through the treatment process. Explain what is happening in an age-appropriate manner – this can make them less afraid and help them cope with treatments. Spend time talking to the child about their experience, which can help relieve stress and anxiety about their treatments and diagnosis.
- Create a cheerful atmosphere
Children suffering from cancer can spend a lot of time in the hospital or in treatment, which can be very gloomy. If they are in the hospital for an extended period of time, help the child create decorations for their room. Help keep their spirits up during treatment by showing them a lot of love and affection and focusing their thoughts on positivity. While it’s important for the child to talk about their cancer, it’s helpful to talk about their hobbies and interests to take their mind off of treatment.
- Include things from normal life
A child suffering from cancer has likely had their world turned upside down, and normalcy can reduce stress and help them get through treatment. If possible, try to bring things from home into the hospital or treatment center. This could mean toys, hand-held video games or a favorite book. Having a friend visit occasionally and keeping the child updated on what is going on with school can help them during treatment.
- Surprise them
Occasionally surprising the child with a treat (if possible), a small toy, a new decoration for their room, a book or just an unexpected visit can light up an otherwise difficult day.