Painful medical procedures are difficult to cope with. As a Certified Child Life Specialist, my role is to prepare children for new experiences while providing a coping plan. I had the opportunity to support my own son for a routine blood test this week. He was quite nervous when his pediatrician mentioned it and I could see his signs of distress. I decided to use some child life techniques to help educate and prepare him while providing validation, and a coping plan.
How do you explain to children that a loved one is going to die? It’s complicated to find the right words to say while navigating the grief emotions. When I work with families, I often validate how hard it is to verbally use the words death and dying. The one piece of information that I provide is how important it is, to be honest with kids. Adults are often too fearful of telling them because they don’t think kids can handle it. The truth is, that children are incredibly resilient. When we provide safety, security, and a foundation of trust we are providing them with incredible supportive tools to manage the loss.
Incorporating children’s books can help families cope with those tough conversations. I am excited to share a newly published book, Moving In Forever that can help children understand a terminal prognosis, hospice, and death. This book has a gentle way of explaining loss with a spiritual connection to heaven.
We all know how frightening surgery can be for children and their parents. Child life specialists do their best to provide proper education and preparation for this new experience while instilling coping skills. Incorporating children’s books can also be a useful tool to help process information and encourage open dialogue about feelings.
I’m excited to share a newly published book that does just this. Surgery on Sunday, helps children understand what this new experience we be like, while also providing a role for them. It is colorful, engaging, and validates emotions. It is definitely a new favorite of mine.