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A new diagnosis or medical setting can be stressful. A serious illness disrupts many aspects of a child’s life including school, activities, and social relationships. But your child and family will adjust with time. Here are some ways to support your child’s emotional, behavioral, and social development.
Set a consistent daily schedule so your child knows what to expect. This can help life feel more “normal” and less stressful.
Sleep is important for physical and mental health. Create a healthy sleep environment, schedule, and routine.
It can be hard to manage schedules, medicines, and other medical tasks. It’s also important to take medicines at the correct dose and at the proper time. Tools and strategies can help you keep up with your child’s medical care.
Let your child know that it is okay to feel sad, scared, or angry. You can show this by sharing your feelings with your child. Talk with your child about how you help yourself to feel better.
Establish consistent rules for your child’s behavior. Keep the same rules and limits that you had before diagnosis. Use the same rules in your home or in housing and at the hospital.
Help your child stay connected to friends and be open to them making new friends during their treatment.
Talk to your care team if you have questions about your child’s adjustment to illness or social, emotional, or behavioral health. A variety of care team members are available to support you, your child, and your family. Psychosocial services include psychologists, chaplains, child life specialists, music therapists, school teachers, and social workers.
The Together by St. Jude™ online resource does not endorse any branded product mentioned in this article.
Reviewed: January 2024