Santa Fe New Mexican


Relationships & Caregiving

Although cancer in children is rare, it is the leading cause of death by disease past infancy among children in the United States. Childhood cancers represent less than 1% of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in the United States each year, according to the National Cancer Institute. CancerCare tips for parents: Acknowledge your feelings: Be honest about your feelings and share them with someone you trust. Find ways to express your feelings through writing, art or a physical activity. Take care of yourself: It can be easy to forget your own needs. Take a few moments each day to do something relaxing, even if it’s just taking a walk around the block. Give yourself credit for all you do as a parent. Find support: Identify people in your life you can turn to for emotional support and to help you with caretaking or household duties. Some apps and websites can help organize help, such as lotsahelpinghands.com or caringbridge.org. American Cancer Society tips for caring for your children: • Talk with your children about what is happening and repeat those explanations whenever needed. • Encourage your child to express how they feel. • Try to maintain regular routines and rules. Children of all ages are comforted by feeling that some things stay the same when other parts of their life are changing. • Encourage children to stay connected with friends and other caregivers during treatment while they are in the hospital or not able to participate in favorite activities. See if friends or extended family can communicate through email or other online tools. • Remember to take time for brothers and sisters. They need age-appropriate explanations of what is happening and time with their parents.