“Mommy doesn’t feel good.”
We can’t play our A game every day. On those days when you aren’t feeling so great, or need some extra help, here are some ways to help children cope:
Give age-appropriate information coupled with lots of reassurance. When children don’t have any information to go on, they make up their own stories. Stay optimistic when talking to your child – beginning with reassurance that the doctor is working hard to help you feel better.
Encourage your child to express his/her feelings. Just because children don’t appear to be worried, doesn’t mean that they aren’t. Children learn to stay positive out of fear that they will cause their parents additional worry. Start the conversation by simply asking your child is feeling, along with reassurance that you want to hear whatever it is they want to tell you, even the ‘scary stuff.’ Give a few extra hugs and reassuring words.
Maintain family routines. Day-to-day routines provide children with a sense of comfort and safety, so even the most simple shifts in what’s normal at your house can leave them feeling scared or confused. Stay on top of the little details of daily life, and get some help here if you can’t.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make a list of everything that has to get done and then do some cherry-picking in terms of what you want to handle yourself and where you will need someone else to jump in. Save your best energy for the tasks that bring the most quality of life for you and your children – having lunch together, going to the park, doing homework together.
Accept help from your child. It is human nature to feel helpless when a loved one is not feeling well, and when we feel helpless, we want to do anything possible to feel like we are doing something – anything – to make things better. Give your child the opportunity to do you a favor, something as simple as helping you make dinner or perform other household chores. Better yet, find projects that you can work on together.
Don’t neglect your own well-being. Remember that you can’t take care of others if you aren’t also taking care of yourself. Listen to your doctor’s recommendations, and listen to your own body.
While stressful, communicating with your child about your diabetes can also provide an opportunity for growth. Children can learn to be more independent, and you can develop a deeper relationship with your children that includes sharing of emotions and joint problem-solving.
Anything experiences to share? Anything you have tried at your house?
Next Discussion: Weight Gain »