The animated story, Super Sam versus the Marrow Monsters explains transplant in a friendly and informative way specifically for children and their families who are going through transplant.
Your child will likely have many questions about being sick and how a transplant will help him/her get better. It is normal to want to protect your child from information that you feel may be frightening. But it is most helpful to give children the information they need at the level they can understand. Let your child know that you will:
- Be with them throughout the entire process
- Listen when they talk to you about how they feel
- Answer any questions they have honestly and openly
You know your child best. As you prepare to talk to your child, consider your child’s age and developmental stage. Listen to your child’s concerns and reassure your child that you will go through this process together.
Tips for communicating
Decide how much information is best for your child
Every child is unique. How much they want to know about their transplant will be different based on their age, developmental stage and personality.
Super Sam’s BMT crossword puzzle and Word find are two fun activities to help children become familiar with many of the new words and phrases they will hear throughout the transplant process. You can watch the Super Sam DVD together to help your child learn more about transplant through the experiences of other young transplant patients.
Some other topics you could talk to your child about include:
- The reason for a transplant is to help make your child healthy. Reassure your child that the treatment is the best thing to do at this time to help him/her get better.
- Details about the hospital stay including length of time, who will be there, what can be brought from home, who can visit and things to do.
Pay attention to your child’s behavior
Children don’t always know how to talk about their feelings and may be afraid to ask questions. Spend time with your child and pay attention to what may be expressed through behavior, play or artwork. As you talk to your child, ask questions to see if your child understands what you’re saying. Answer your child’s questions honestly and supportively as they come up.
If your child shows signs of trouble coping with transplant, talk with your doctor. There are also other members of the transplant team who will help support you and your child including the transplant center social worker, child life specialist or child psychologist.
Be The Match® patient services coordinators can also answer your questions and provide support and education to help you and your family navigate your transplant journey.