Hemby Children's Hospital
Sister playing on floor in bedroom

Family support

Support siblings during family medical events

A child’s illness can rearrange priorities at home

Child life specialists are available to help support your child and family during a medical experience. Our specialists work with patients, siblings and caregivers to offer explanations about diagnoses, tests and procedures. When working with younger patients, child life specialists communicate in ways that make it easier to understand medical information.

Simple ways to support your child

Our services are designed to improve healthcare experiences by reducing stress and trauma for children and their families. Here are simple ways family members and other caregivers can help a child cope with hospitalization:

  • Tell the child about the illness and answer questions in honest, simple terms.
  • Recognize accomplishments (getting through a difficult procedure, waiting patiently, taking pills, etc.) with verbal praise.
  • Let your child know which family member will be with them during treatment.
  • Continue to set rules and limits.
  • Give permission to play with no interruptions whenever possible.
  • Let your child control playtime.
  • Provide viable choices.
  • Include your child in packing favorite toys or items (stuffed animal, coloring books, cards or tablets, for example) that bring comfort or could be used as a distraction while waiting for appointments.
  • Allow the child to participate in treatment.