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Prepare your child
• Talk honestly with your child in words he or she will understand. You might use books, videos or pictures to help tell the story. If you want help talking with your child, contact your hospital social worker or child life specialist. Talk about:
o Who will be at the hospital, and who will care for brothers, sisters or pets at home.
o What will happen at the hospital and what the schedule might be like.
• Reassure your child that Mom, Dad or another caregiver will be available to help with whatever he or she needs.
• Help your child make a list of items he or she would like to take along.
• Talk with your child’s teachers and principal about the plan for schoolwork while your child will be away.
• Talk about ways to keep your child connected with school and friends.
• Check with the Ronald McDonald House near your transplant center to see what prior arrangements can be made for lodging.
Prepare brothers & sisters
• Tell your children what will be happening within the family while their sibling is going through a transplant.
• If children are staying home, talk with them about who will take care of them. Reassure them they will be taken care of during this time and that you love them.
• If you are a single parent with more than one child, think about who will care for your other children if you must travel for your child’s treatment. For example, who can consent for your children’s medical care or contact the school while you are away. Talk about this with your child’s doctor, teachers and family.
• Talk with your other children about any planned family visits to the transplant center.
• School enrollment might be available at the hospital, Ronald McDonald House or in the community. Talk with your transplant center social worker to see if this option is available.
• If you are bringing other children with you to the location of the transplant center, you’ll need a second person to care for them. Most hospitals do not allow siblings/other children to stay overnight in the hospital room.
Ask for help
Don’t hold back on letting family and friends know that you need their help. If asking for help is hard for you, try to keep in mind that many people really want to help. Because they may be unsure on how to help, you could provide them with ideas on meaningful ways to get involved.
Keep a list of specific tasks you need help with like:
• Yard work
• Grocery shopping
Post the list in your home where people can see it. Then share it with friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, your faith community and others. Some parents find it helpful to organize a team using online tools. ShareTheCare.org offers one way to do so. You can also use a free online calendar tool at LotsaHelpingHands.com.
“I was so amazed at the network of friends willing to make dinner or give a ride to the doctor.”
- Jody, caregiver