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  • Give them the opportunity to spend time with the patient and participate with them in meaningful activities.  Otherwise, they may be left with the feeling that they did not get to say goodbye. If they are not told the prognosis and participate in their regular routine, after the death they may feel guilty about not making time for the loved one.  Ask them how much time they want to spend with the ill person.  Confirm that it is their job to be a youngster.  It is ok to want to be with friends, attend school and enjoy their usual routine.
  • Help children and teens discover ways to interact with the patient.  Be creative in involving them in the care of the patient.  They can bring needed items to the room, draw pictures to decorate the room, read to the patient.  Ask them what they would like to do. You may be surprised at the creative ideas they come up with.  If there has been conflict, help the child resolve these issues.
  • Let them know you are available to answer their questions.  Tell them you may cry when talking about the person but assure them you are only letting out your feelings, you are ok, and you will continue to care for them.  Give them permission to cry and show their feelings.  It may help them to have a notebook where they can write their questions.  Adults can then read their questions and either write the answers or talk to them.
  • Include others in the nurturing of your child.   You may not be able to provide your children with all the physical and emotional support that they are used to during this time.  Other loving adults can support your child and provide concrete service by doing such things as driving them to social functions.
  • Inform school personnel about the illness.  Your child may struggle at school while they are focused on their concern about what is happening at home that day.