Helping Siblings Cope
When a child needs heart surgery, it can be stressful on the whole family, including brothers and sisters. They often feel anxious about disrupted family routines. Here are a few suggestions for how you can help siblings cope.
- Communicate openly and honestly about your child's heart condition with the siblings and encourage them to express feelings and ask questions.
- When possible, it may be helpful to take along a family member or friend who can help keep the sibling(s) busy during your child's clinic visit.
- For longer hospital visits, make sure there is someone special, such as a grandparent or family friend, to spend one-on-one time with siblings.
- If a sibling wants to visit their brother or sister in the hospital, ask a Child Life Specialist to help prepare him or her.
- Encourage siblings to help out their brother or sister by drawing a picture, watching a movie together, or calling him/her on the phone.