Helpful hints for parents

  • Buy a diary and write down any questions and information as you think of them. This simple task helps to empower your role as a parent in advocating for your child.

  • Talk to other parents on the ward who have been through what you are now going through. You cannot underestimate the support you may gain from these interactions.

  • Ask for any further literature.

  • Despite circumstances, try to maintain a normal lifestyle. Treat your child as normally as possible. If you are unsure of how much to discipline your child or when to limit or restrict certain activities then ask your doctor, social worker or psychologist. You may also find great support from other parents.

  • Keep in mind the needs of your other children – they still need you.

  • Keep all avenues of support open, you never know when you may need them for both your child and yourselves.

  • Give yourself time to talk with your husband/wife or, if you are a single parent, with someone close to you.

  • Allow yourself time just for you.

  • You may want to keep a journal/scrapbook for your child so when they are older they are able to have a record of this important stage in their lives. You could include; photos, hair samples, people who visited, etc. Offer for them to be involved.

  • Don't allow all your discussions to only revolve around the sick child, make time to do things you enjoyed doing together as a family before your child became sick.

  • Find ways to reduce frustration or boredom when you're waiting around for procedures e.g. reading, sewing, puzzles and exercise.

  • Ask your doctor or Social Worker to link you up with other parents living in your area. This can be helpful for both you and your child, particularly if the children are around the same age.

  • If it’s possible, try and work out a roster or system whereby you and your spouse can share and alternate the care of your child at the hospital. This gives you both the opportunity to spend time with the hospitalised child and other siblings and to also have a rest or time to yourself. This also allows both parents to become familiar with the child's life in the hospital, the treatment and to get to know the staff. This can reduce the differences between parents when one becomes much more actively involved in the treatment than the other. If you are a single parent, perhaps another family member or friend who is close to the child, may be able to stay at the hospital occasionally to give you a break.

  • Utilise the services/resources at the hospital for support.

  • There are outside professionals, agencies and organisations who can offer a variety of support, information and assistance. Ask your Social Worker for this information.

  • If your child is in remission, use this time to encourage positive attitudes and to open up discussion as to your child’s understanding of the situation. Often children may discuss things more easily about their fears and concerns when the pressure of treatment has lessened.

  • Encourage family and friends to visit the hospital but keep them informed of what to expect so they are prepared before they enter the child’s room or ward. It may be confronting for relatives and friends when they first see the child in hospital and the effects that treatment may have had.