15 Mar Helping Sick Kids Cope with Isolation
Isolation. A word we are all probably more familiar with now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but something a parent of an immunocompromised child knows well. Whether a child is in isolation due to a recent hospital stay, surgical procedure, chemotherapy treatments or another reason that weakens their immune system, separation from others is crucial to reduce a child’s chances of catching anything from the outside world. For a child, coping with isolation can be difficult, especially when faced with feelings of stress and loneliness.
Supporting Your Child During Self-Isolation
As a parent, here are a few ways that you can help your immunocompromised child cope with isolation:
- Routinely check in and talk about your child’s feelings. Not all children respond to stress the same way, so it’s more important than ever to have clear communication between you and your child when they are in isolation. Ask your child how they’re feeling and listen to what they say. Let them know it is okay if they feel upset sometimes and work together to find healthy ways to feel better, like reading, crafting, listening to music or watching their favorite TV show.
- Take advantage of technology to safely socialize. Keep up with family members and friends who your child would normally interact with by connecting with them via FaceTime, Zoom or similar apps. Your child won’t skip a beat and will continue to build relationships virtually with the special people in their lives.
- Set up a schedule and create structure. Many adults say that routine is the key to success, and it’s no different for a child, especially one in isolation. Establishing and maintaining routines will help your child feel safe and in control of the situation around them. Find a creative way to display a daily schedule: wake-up and bed times, meals, school time, play time, etc. Additionally, communicate with your child’s teacher and, if possible, work together to find ways for your child to still be included in class activities and lessons.
- Practice mindfulness. Studies show that introducing children to meditation can help them learn how to calm their minds and use healthy coping skills that will last a lifetime. Consistent practice of meditation can improve your child’s sleeping habits, attention span, stress management, mood and overall well being. At Ronald McDonald House of San Antonio®, we understand the importance of families having a dedicated space to focus their minds and to relax. We have a dedicated meditation room for our families to take a moment to align their body and mind and cope with their surroundings.
- Prioritize your mental health. Parents, this tip is for you. Remember that this is a tough time for everyone involved, including you. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise and don’t be too hard on yourself. Be a role model and take care of yourself for your child.
At Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Antonio, we provide families with the resources they need while their child is sick. Our priority is to create a safe space for families, where they can break away from the hospital, yet be available at a moment’s notice.
Your support helps us provide a safe, affordable and caring home away from home for the families of children receiving essential medical services. Support Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Antonio in our mission to keep families close during their toughest times.
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