Parents Help Their Children Recover When They Take Care of Themselves

When your child receives a serious medical diagnosis, it can be stressful. There is so much to learn about the disease, condition or injury and  its treatment options. Understandably at first your focus will be on helping your child.

However, you can better help and support your children,  if you take care of yourselves too.

Research has shown  that when caregivers are  overwhelmed and  distressed, this impacts  how their  children adjust to the diagnosis and their  quality of life after treatment ends.  If you are not doing well, your child will have more difficulties.

An important lesson that caregivers must  learn is that it is OK to take care of yourself!  

Making time for yourself will  strengthen your ability to care for your child and your family during this difficult time.


Five Principles of Self Care

  1. Taking care of yourself  is not  being selfish or self-centered.  In fact, taking care of you will allow you to take better care of your sick child and family.
  1. Know yourself.  Be honest regarding how much you can handle. Don’t rely on others to tell you how much you can handle. Ask for help.
  1. Understand what you are thinking and feeling. Know that it is okay to feel angry, depressed, lonely and to express those difficult feelings.
  1. Maintain parts of your life that do not include your sick child. Recognize that you can care for you and care for your child.  
  1. Pat yourself on the back and  take pride in the courage it takes to  handle such a difficult situation.  Allow others to appreciate you as well.


Things You Can Do to Take Care of Yourself

  1. Remember to eat  balanced meals and drink plenty of water. When you eat and stay hydrated, you feel better and you are able to provide better care  to your child.
  1. Try to maintain regular sleep habits and stay physically active.
  1. Let others help you. When friends and family members ask if they can help, take them up on it! Also have the courage to ask for help and support.
  1. Take short breaks and do something fun or relaxing. Walk outside, be in the sunshine, take deep breaths, or run errands. This will allow you to be more present with  your child.
  1. Family members cope in different ways. Soothe your anxiety and tolerate family members dealing with the medical trauma differently than you.
  1. Connect with your family members and friends at the hospital, at RMH and at home and family members  who give you support
  1. Your child can tell when you are distressed.   Share your thoughts  and feelings with family and friends who give you support. Connect with those on  Support Community, and with Family Support Services (FSS). When you share your thoughts, it helps you to feel better,  think more clearly,  and make better decisions.


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