How to Prepare Children for the Announcement of a Loved One’s Critical Illness

Young girl holding dad's hand

Dealing with someone in the family who is critically ill is difficult. Aside from making sure that your medical GAP insurance company has your family covered for such situations, you also have to help your children deal with losing someone pretty soon.

We often think that children are too young to hear about life and death discussions. But the more we try to shield them from these things, the more we’re making things worse. Besides, children are adept at sensing if something is wrong in the household.

Children know when the overall mood at home is not a joyous one, and they will soon put the pieces together even if you try to keep them from learning the truth. If someone in the family is seriously ill, you should know how to prepare your child for the inevitable.

Schedule the conversation

When you’re thinking of telling your child that somebody in the family is critically ill, you should find the appropriate time. Don’t simply think that when you’re done washing the dishes, you’ll have enough time to talk to them. When you do tell them the bad news, you should be prepared to answer any questions that they might have.

Keep the conversation simple

It’s important to keep the conversation simple. Tell them the reason for visiting the hospital frequently without going into too much detail. Also, be honest with your child. If you think that there is a huge possibility of survival, then tell your child about that. But if the prognosis is grim, try your best to avoid sugarcoating the situation and tell them the truth. You might think that you’re protecting your child from the harsh realities of life and death, but what you’re actually doing is weakening their resolve and ability to remain strong in the face of adversity. Rather than keep the truth from them, let them handle it. Just be there when they need you to be strong for them.

Ask your child if they want to help

Little Girl resting on her father's shoulder

One of the most debilitating factors of critical illness is the feeling of helplessness. It can make you furious sometimes when you think that you can’t do anything to reverse the situation you and your family are in. But eventually, you will have to deal with the fact that there are some things in life that we cannot control.

Children can also feel their parents’ frustration. For most of them, the only way they know how to alleviate that feeling is to offer help. If your child offers to help with some chores or take care of the sick family member, let them. It may be their way of coping. You should keep in mind that you’re all in this situation, trying to survive. Let them help in any way they can.

Dealing with a spouse or family member who is critically ill is difficult. There will be times when your patience is tested. But always remember that your child is going through the same difficult situation. Despite how hard it is for you, your child needs you to be strong. Strengthen your resolve and face the outcome peacefully so that your child will see you as their beacon of hope.

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