If you have other children at home, their practical needs are not the only thing you’ll need to consider while you are at the hospital. Your children’s emotional needs are equally as important as making sure they are eating well and keeping up with their regular activities.
Being apart from family can be difficult for CHD siblings. They naturally worry about what’s happening and their routines are disrupted. They may also feel sad or anxious about missing the attention and love they usually share with you. Sometimes children feel guilty about having these feelings, and may not share them with their parents.
When you feel stressed and overwhelmed, it can be a real challenge to balance caring for your child in the hospital and making sure your child(ren) at home feel loved and supported. Even if you can only spend a small amount of time focused on your other child(ren), it can make a big difference by providing them the reassurance they need.
Regularly check in on your child(ren) at home, ask about their thoughts and feelings, and tell them that you love and miss them. Video calls with siblings are a great way to keep them informed and connected with you and their brother or sister in the hospital. A child life specialist or social worker at your hospital may be able to suggest other ways to support your other children during this challenging time for your family.
You may need to try different ways to support the general well-being of all your children, but it’s important to learn how to manage the impact of CHD on your family and get support when you need it.