When kids are sick, it can be a frightening time – for you and them both. No one wants to see their child suffering, so it will be difficult for you.
Kids are just as likely to suffer from medical negligence as you are. In fact, because they often don’t have the vocabulary to properly explain what’s bothering them, they could be more at risk of a misdiagnosis, a delayed diagnosis or other medical mistake.
But you’ll have to put your fears to the back of your mind and focus on helping them through. So what should you do?
Listen to them
When your child is suffering and they perhaps aren’t being listened to – leading to the wrong diagnosis – you can be the one saving grace. By listening to them and making them feel like their worries and pains are being taken seriously, you can help them feel reassured – like someone is going to help them.
If they’re struggling with their emotions, you can encourage them to take up art or writing or music or anything that can give them an outlet for these feelings. This could be particularly helpful for younger kids or those that find honest conversations challenging.
If you’re concerned that your child might have a serious illness, which hasn’t yet been discovered, it’s best to be honest. Don’t sugar coat the situation by telling them that they’re fine. Rather, tell them the truth. Let them know that something is wrong and that you’re going to do all you can to ensure they get the care they need.
Once you have a diagnosis, it’s best to continue with this honesty. If there are complications expected along the road, don’t shy away from telling your child. Let them know that things might get difficult, but that you’re going to be right there to support them. If they’re expecting it, it won’t surprise them, which can avoid a lot of pain.
Let them have plenty of rest
You know that you’re not very energetic when you’re sick. Neither are kids. Although they might normally be running around, causing chaos wherever they go, they’re more likely to be curled up on the sofa or in bed when they’re ill.
You’ll have to allow them some leeway when they’re not feeling well. They might not be up to doing their chores, so maybe you should take a break from checking up on them. And if they have strict wake up times, these can be relaxed while they’re being treated – or waiting for treatment.
Screen time rules can also be relaxed during a period of illness. You may usually be strict about how long they’re allowed to spend on their devices or in front of the TV, but while they’re resting, it can be helpful to let them veg out in front of these screens.
Keep them nourished
When kids are dealing with an illness, they might not want to eat much. But to give them the best chance of recovering quickly, they need to fuel their bodies right. And this means you might have to come up with some clever ideas to make food more appealing.
The same is true for drinking. They’ll need to stay hydrated, so don’t let them avoid sipping on water. This might be difficult when they’re just not interested in any fluids. Consider popsicles or fruit juices if they prefer these – the important thing is just to keep them hydrated.
When you have a child going through a difficult time, it can be easy to simply tell them everything is going to be okay. But it can be a lot more helpful to be honest about the fact things are a little hard right now, but they have a support network that isn’t going anywhere. After all, their emotional needs are just as important as their physical health.