Compassionate care at any stage of an illness


For Caregivers

Caring for a Child with a Serious Illness

When you are caring for a seriously ill child, keep special considerations in mind, including the following:

  • Say "I love you" frequently. Make your child feel safe and well-cared for. Use comforting language so your child feels protected.
  • Be sensitive to signs that your child wants to talk about the illness and don't change the subject or distract him or her. But don't push it if your child isn't ready to talk.
  • Let your child be a kid, including playing and enjoying life as much as possible.
  • Continue to be a parent, setting limits as you would if your child were well. Letting your child misbehave can actually make him or her feel out of control and less protected.

You can find more guidance regarding caring for a child who has a serious illness on the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's patient website, Caring Connections or on through Children's Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition. You can connect with other parents and read their inspirational stories as well as share your own by visiting Partnership for Parents. You also can read stories about how palliative care helped the families of children with serious illness. Read other parents' inspirational stories.