Posted on July 2nd, 2023
Photo via Pexels
Coping with Your Child’s Cancer Diagnosis: Navigating the Next Steps
Receiving a diagnosis of childhood cancer is every parent’s worst nightmare. The news can turn your world upside down, leaving you feeling frightened, overwhelmed, and unsure of what lies ahead. Remind yourself that you’re not alone. Countless families have traveled the challenging path before you, and many resources and support networks are available to help you navigate the steps ahead. In this article, Kids Without Cancer explores some important steps you can take as a parent to move forward as you and your family cope with this difficult diagnosis.
Organize Your Child’s Medical Files
Establishing a plan to organize your child’s medical files is crucial. The sheer volume of paperwork, test results, treatment plans, and medication schedules can quickly become overwhelming. A document storage system will not only streamline communication with healthcare providers but also help you stay informed and maintain a clear overview of your child’s medical journey.
Consider digitizing your child’s medical files and uploading them to cloud storage so you can access them from anywhere. PDFs are the ideal format for digital file storage and sharing. If your paperwork scans as other file types, such as JPEG or PNG files, you can use an online tool to convert image files to PDFs—check this out and give it a try!
As a parent, you are your child’s best healthcare advocate. The more you know about their diagnosis and treatment plan, the better. Take the time to research and learn about your child’s specific type of cancer, available treatments, and the latest advancements in pediatric oncology. Be sure to consult reputable resources such as medical literature and support organizations specializing in childhood cancer. You can also learn a lot from your child’s healthcare team. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, seek clarification, and share your opinion. Educating yourself will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to actively participate in your child’s treatment.
Prioritize Sleep and Relaxation
According to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, healthy sleep is an important element of your child’s treatment. Getting enough high-quality sleep helps children with cancer recover from chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation while reducing pain and boosting the immune system. Unfortunately, sleep problems are common in cancer patients. Help your child sleep better by sticking to a healthy sleep schedule, establishing a relaxing bedtime routine, and investing in comfortable, breathable bedding.
Help Your Child Practice Self-Care
Practicing self-care can help kids with cancer cope with everyday challenges as they navigate the treatment process. Encourage your child to be introspective and aware of their physical, mental, and social needs. Modeling self-care behaviors is a good place to start. Plus, practicing self-care yourself will help you manage stress during this difficult period. Exercise, make healthy food choices, and go to bed early. Talk to your child about the importance of these self-care activities and encourage them to join you!
Explore the Resources Available to You
Numerous resources exist to provide support, guidance, and assistance as you navigate your child’s diagnosis. Reach out to your child’s healthcare team, who can connect you with specialized services, such as social workers, child life specialists, or psychologists. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society lists several other cancer resources for children and families, many of which provide free educational materials and peer support opportunities. Be sure to take advantage of these.
No parent is ever prepared to learn that their child has cancer. Take steps to comfort your child and regain some sense of control in this difficult time, whether it means establishing a digital file storage system for medical documents or creating a bedroom environment that facilitates better sleep. By educating yourself and advocating for your child, your family will find strength, resilience, and hope.
Are you looking for more ways to get involved in the fight against childhood cancer? Consider making a donation to Kids Without Cancer to support pediatric cancer research.
Posted on December 30th, 2022
Posted on July 19th, 2022
Image via Pexels
Guiding Your Children on the Path to a Healthy Life
For parents, it’s common to worry about whether they’re making the right decisions for their children. Remember that a large part of your job as a parent is teaching your kids to make the right choices for themselves later in life. The best way to do so is to provide examples of healthy routines your child can adopt.
Develop Healthy Eating Habits
It’s easy to cave in and only give your child the foods they already like, regardless of their nutritional value. The sooner you vary your child’s diet, the easier it will be to get them to try new things. The easiest habits to break are the ones we never develop in the first place, so exercise your own self-discipline as you ensure your child’s eating habits are healthy from the start.
One way or another, of course, your child will end up trying some less-than-healthy foods. Don’t treat this as some cardinal sin to be strictly avoided. Instead, teach your child that there can be too much of a good thing and that most unhealthy things can be enjoyed in moderation. Studies have found that we eat 600 more calories a day on average than we did fifty years ago, so how much we eat is just as important as what we eat.
Don’t Ignore Mental Health
It’s been proven that our mental well-being is tied directly to our physical health, so make sure your child is equipped to keep a healthy psyche as well. How they interact with the world will reflect on them as well as you, so encourage them to be kind whenever possible. Teach them to help others or give to charitable organizations like Kids Without Cancer when they’re able.
Teach your children that there’s no shame in seeking professional help such as therapy when needed and that even healthy minds need regular maintenance. Unchecked trauma, hormone disorders, and chemical imbalances can seriously affect your child’s behavior and physiology. Especially, an online therapist is worth looking in to if your schedule stays too busy for an office visit or if there aren’t any therapists available who suit your needs. Oftentimes, online therapy is often more affordable than in-person options.
Beyond professional intervention, there are plenty of small changes you can make around the home to improve the mental health of everyone living there. Keeping nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables on hand will give everyone more responsible options that will keep them in better health and better moods. Natural lighting and dedicated quiet areas can also have a calming effect on your family.
Stay Active Often
As with a healthy diet, the earlier you get your kids outside and active, the better. Establishing the habit of active playtime will have them associate relaxation with exercise, which is an invaluable compulsion to have in our increasingly sedentary world. Make sure to lead by example and actively play with them, rather than standing nearby idly.
As your children outgrow playgrounds or even sports, set aside recurring time to exercise deliberately as a family. Daily walks, morning yoga, or intentional time in the pool can keep the whole family active. If feasible to own one, a dog can teach your child responsibility while also providing a consistent reason to exercise. As with all the other tips covered so far, making exercise a habit will ensure that you rarely break the routine.
Ideally, children look up to their parents. Make sure you’re providing a good example and setting them up for a happy, successful, and most of all healthy life.
Posted on June 30th, 2022
Photo via Stocksnap
The Benefits of Planning Your Child’s Summer Vacation
For children, the summertime represents three months of carefree fun and activities and long, hot days. Parents, on the other hand, tend to worry about the idle time and lack of restriction that comes with not having a set schedule or obligations. The best way to ease your mind around the sudden increase in free time your child has is to plan a well-rounded summer schedule for them. Here are a few suggestions from Kids Without Cancer to help you plan accordingly!
Spending time outdoors should be one of the great joys of summer, but with so many opportunities for technology to be a distraction, it can be a chore to pry some kids away from their digital devices. To keep kids engaged with the natural world, plan family outings to local parks, nature centers, or even just your backyard! Make sure, however, to always keep safety at the forefront of your mind during your excursions.
For example, if you have a pool, building a fence that surrounds it will prevent kids from entering the water when you’re not around to keep a watchful eye, especially if it’s outfitted with safety latches. You can search online for fence installers to find review sites, and some even showcase local contractors who are offering discounts. Similarly, if your family decides to explore a local nature trail, heavy-duty boots (or at the very least, sneakers) and lightweight, long-sleeved clothing will protect you from bugs, snakes, and poisonous plants.
There are a host of products available, like wagons and all-terrain strollers, that make it easier to get outdoor activity with small children. With so many choices, it can be difficult to know which products are best for meeting your needs. You can read reviews online at Safe Smart Family to get a better sense of what will work best for your family. Then you’ll be able to make an informed decision that you’ll be happy with.
Encourage them to try new things
With no set schedule, it’s easy for your child to fall victim to spending the majority of their summer break on the couch playing video games. Encourage your child to get out and be active by learning to try something new! Learning something new keeps your child from falling into a rut and it also feeds their creativity.
Something new for them could be learning to rock climb, joining a summer sports league, kayaking, or learning how to make lotions, soaps, and candles! While they may be nervous in the beginning or unsure of their abilities, their confidence will soon build and lead them to trying even more new things.
Avoid idle time
Encouraging your child to pick up a new hobby or try new things will structure their time over the summer, which will help them avoid falling into bad behaviors. It has been said that too much of anything can be a bad thing, and that is no different with time. Children that don’t have any fulfilling activities to occupy their time are more likely to pick up bad habits such as hanging around the wrong crowd or partaking in the use of drugs.
Try to keep your child as involved as possible throughout the summer by signing them up for camps and spending quality time with them whenever you can. And not all teens are able to seek summer employment, but that doesn’t mean they can’t volunteer their time. Look for ways your teen can be a mentor or work with other kids to be a leader and contribute to the community. This can end up being a rewarding experience that leads to a lifetime of service work.
If you are a working parent or own a business, it can be difficult to find opportunities to spend with your child. Looking into implementing tools that can improve your time efficiency, like an email scheduler such as Boomerang for Gmail or cloud accounting tools for your business. Automated tools make it easier to start and complete repetitive tasks like invoicing or inventory, save you money and time. Not only can software grow with your business, but it will help you get more family time as well.
Be honest with them
As a parent, your number one priority is to keep your child safe and to protect them from anything that could pose a threat to their wellbeing. As you know, you will not always be able to be around your child when certain situations present themselves, so it’s best to have open and honest conversations with them about the dangers of drug abuse and choosing to go down the wrong path. These conversations may seem painful in the beginning, but it is important that your child learns from you rather than someone else who could potentially be a bad influence.
Teach your child the importance of being a leader and that it is honorable to not give into peer pressure under any circumstances. Tell them that with all decisions come consequences, so it’s always best to make the right choice. Even if your child does not seem to grasp the magnitude of what you are saying right away, continue to have these conversations. As they grow older and are faced with different situations, your words will be a light on their path.
Planning a schedule for your child’s summer vacation is the wisest thing you can do as a parent. Not only will you keep them out of trouble and guarantee their safety, but you will also be setting a positive example for other parents and their children!
For the past 40 years, Kids Without Cancer has been raising money to fund the pediatric cancer research being conducted at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Wayne State University, and the Karmanos Cancer Institute. For more information, please visit our website or contact us today!
Posted on June 2nd, 2022
Photo via Pixels
Beneficial Self-Care Activities for Kids with Cancer
Are you looking for ways to help your child cope with cancer? Self-care can be incredibly valuable for children battling health conditions and serious illnesses like cancer. If you’re looking for ways to support your child and ease their pain, teach them how to practice self-care! Self-care for kids is all about encouraging children to become introspective and aware of their needs, both physical and emotional. Check out the following tips from Kids Without Cancer to learn more!
Model Good Self-Care Behaviors
Kids take after their parents. Even if you don’t think they’re watching, your kids are internalizing your words and actions to form their own perspective on the world. Modeling good self-care behaviors will show your children that taking care of one’s own body and mind is incredibly important.
Let your kids see you exercising, making healthy food choices, and going to bed early. Beyond these actions, show your kids that you’re aware of your needs and emotions by verbalizing what you need. Discuss why it’s important to prioritize activities that will improve your mental, emotional, and physical health. Aim to teach your kids the value of self-care. With that in mind, here are some actions you can take to help your kids see the benefits of self-care!
Get Out of the House
While getting out of the house, enjoying new activities, and attending events may be more challenging when your child has cancer, a little outing can go a long way toward improving everyone’s mood. For example, attending a sports game is a great way to relax and unwind with your family. Surprise your child with tickets to watch their favorite local team play! If the team isn’t playing nearby, consider traveling out of town for a weekend trip! Find what types of things your child likes to do and indulge these interests every so often.
Spend Some Time in Nature
Spending time in nature offers countless benefits for kids and adults alike. For example, Clearvue Health explains that kids who are exposed to nature have significantly better mental health as adults compared to those who were not exposed to nature as children. Spending time in nature is also associated with lower levels of psychological distress. Head to a nearby park or forest where you and your children can enjoy the natural environment for a while. Try not to go out with a goal or destination in mind. Just let your kids explore, have fun, and take in their surroundings.
Engage in Physical Activity
According to ChoosePT, exercise can benefit children with cancer in several ways. Physical activity has been shown to improve heart and lung function, muscle strength, sleep quality, joint health, and emotional wellbeing, all of which will make it easier for your child to cope with cancer. Talk to your child’s doctor about exercises that will help your child maintain an appropriate physical activity level during their treatment. You can also work with a pediatric physical therapist for help getting your child moving.
Encourage Your Child to Make Healthy Food Choices
It can be tough to get your kids to eat healthy meals during cancer treatment. But making healthy food choices is essential for maintaining their energy and mental wellbeing. Make sure your child gets enough protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. Look for healthy, kid-friendly recipes that will get your child excited about nutritious food!
As a parent, nothing is worse than watching your child struggle through a cancer diagnosis. Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to help your child maintain good health, energy, and a positive mindset. Encourage and model self-care for your child so they can gain greater control over their health and wellbeing!
Do you want to get involved in the fight against childhood cancer? Donate to Kids Without Cancer to help end all childhood cancers! Fill out the form on our website to make your contribution.