Parents have an instinct to protect their kids. That’s why talking about tough or painful subjects, such as illness and death, is particularly difficult. When is the right time to tell your child? How much will they understand? When a loved one enters hospice care, the family needs to be on the same page. It won’t always be easy, but keeping your kids involved will help them better process the situation and handle their grief when the time comes. Have an open and honest conversation with your family using this guide on how to talk to kids about hospice care.
Be Honest and Age-Appropriate
When it comes to difficult subjects, you always want to be honest with children. At the same time, you want to give them information in a way that suits their age, knowledge, and maturity level. As such, you must find a balance in the information you provide between honesty and age appropriateness. When talking with younger kids, be straightforward and use simple terms. Describe the changes that will happen, such as nurses visiting the home or symptoms of your loved one’s illness. With older kids, make sure the information they already have is accurate. Start with questions like, “What do you know about cancer?” to gauge how much they already know. It will also help you find and correct any misunderstandings your child might already have about the illness at hand, hospice care, or death in general.
Have the Conversation Early
It’s always tempting to put off hard conversations, but waiting will only make the situation more difficult. You want to give your kids time to process this information and understand how it will affect their lives. Furthermore, you never know when the situation might change. Having the conversation sooner will help you avoid springing the issue on your kids suddenly. When kids have more time to consider the difficult subject of hospice care and a loved one’s illness, they’ll be able to fully process the situation and ask more questions as time goes on. This, in turn, allows you to continue the conversation and keep your child updated as your loved one’s condition changes.
Learning how to talk to kids about hospice care can take a lot of trial and error. However, honest discussions, open ears, and a supportive environment can help kids better understand the situation and the grief that comes with it. As you look for high-quality, compassionate hospice in Tucson, take the time to sit down and talk with your kids. When everyone is on the same page, you can take each step together as an open and supportive family.