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Jul 19, 2013

What To Do When Words Fail Us

Boy with train

When a friend or loved one’s child has been diagnosed with a serious illness or injury and admitted to a local children’s hospital, it can be difficult to find the right words to express your deepest sympathies and concern.

We asked parents of former and current Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champions to share insights from their experiences and pooled together five ways you can best show your support for these families:

-       Be intentional. You don’t need to be eloquent to offer encouragement. There is no one “right” thing to say. A simple note, text, voicemail message or hug expressing your concern and support can be enough to help a family through a tough day. 

-       Offer bedside service. Despite parents’ deep desire and need to remain close to their children during hospital stays, everyone needs a breather. Volunteer to sit with their child for a time to allow parents to go on a recuperating walk, a dinner out or to spend time with their other children. 

-       Make meals. Between hospital food, doctor’s visits, emergency obligations and multiple mouths to feed (including their own!), a home-cooked meal could be the perfect gift. Better yet, gather a few friends and create a meal schedule — such as those found on mealbaby.com — to serve the family in need. 

-       Lend a hand. Parents of pediatric patients must juggle increased responsibilities in addition to caring for the rest of their family, meaning that rides to soccer practices, homework tutoring and household chores become more difficult to bear. You can show your support by picking up groceries, buying toiletries, mowing the lawn or offering to babysit.

-       Get creative. Does the child love to read? Would they be found playing with Legos if they had the chance? Recruit the child’s friends and classmates to make fun-filled activity bags or get-well cards that the child can display in their house or hospital room for a more cheerful environment.

When in doubt, ask them what would be most helpful. Ultimately, the best way to help a family with a seriously sick or injured child is simply to love them. 

 

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That's good and helpful advice.

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