When a child goes to the hospital, it affects the whole family. The other children in your home often have questions and may act differently when a member of the family is in the hospital. It’s important to understand that this is normal, and help children work through it. Take time to explain to your other children what's going to happen, what they can do to help, and that there may be changes to their routines.
Your other children may:
- worry about what's happening to your child
- feel sad or alone because they miss their parents
- be jealous that your child is getting lots of attention
- feel angry that there are changes to their own routine
What you can do to help your other children cope
Answer questions and be open and honest with all family members. Other children in your home may be imagining something far worse than what's actually happening.
Use clear and simple language that children can understand when you explain why your child is going to the hospital.
Read books and look at resources with the whole family about being in the hospital and having surgery.
Let your other children know where they’ll be, who will be looking after them, and when they’ll see you on the day of surgery.
Arrange for your other children to visit or talk with your child over the phone.
Help your other children feel included by involving them in plans for when your child comes home. Encourage them to make cards and pictures to send to the hospital.
Spend some one-on-one time with your other children.
Try to keep routines at home as normal as possible.
Resources for Parents