Children are likely to experience a wide range of emotions when someone close to them has been in hospital. For some children this could include anxiety, low mood or upset and children may have found things quite confusing. You may also have noticed a change in your child’s behaviour (for example, changes to their sleeping habits or being more clingy). At this difficult time, it is important to keep children included and informed. We have included some information to support this below.
- Talk honestly with your children. Use simple, direct language appropriate to their level of understanding. With a younger child you may need to give information in small chunks.
- Encourage children to ask questions. Check how much they have understood as they may be getting information which is incorrect or distorted from friends or social media and may need some help correcting this misinformation.
- It can help to keep to a routine, especially when there have been big changes. Structured days with regular mealtimes, school work, breaks, playtime, bedtime and remote contact with others can help younger children feel secure.
This leaflet from the British Psychological Society gives advice on how to talk to children of different ages.