Being a parent of a child with a low immune system or a child who frequently gets ill can be difficult. Here are a few tips from a mom whose child sometimes misses weeks of school at a time:
1. Be in contact with your child’s nursery school teacher.Let them know exactly whats going on so that they have an understanding of just how sick your child really is. This makes them more aware of your child and his contact with germs and also makes them more understanding.
2. Get your child’s work at home. This way they are caught up and not feeling left behind the other children. If your not sure what you should be doing or how to teach, then speak to the teacher. They will guide you and show you the basic steps on how to help your child at home.
3. When your child misses school trips etc.. make sure you make it up to him or her. If it is a place that they are allowed to go, then take them your own. Take the whole family and make a long-lasting memory for your nursery schooler. Take lots of pictures and let your child bring one to school so he can say he went there also. A picture also helps when the school puts up photos of the trip. You can add your child’s so that he can see himself on the picture wall as well. If your child is not allowed to go to the place where the class is going, you can take him somewhere else that is special. This lets him feel less left out and is important for family bonding time. If your child is too ill to go anywhere on that particular day, rent a special movie or play board games at home. Make sure that you are creating fun memories for them.
4. Always explain what is happening to your child. Let him know about every test, lab, or doctor’s appointment. Even if your child is getting a shot they should know about it. If your child has to miss school because of an appointment let them know what it is and why. Let him tell the teacher himself (with you there to provide further explanation) why he will not be at school. This allows the child to have a sense of trust and comprehension of what is going on around him. No one likes surprises, especially ones that are not fun. Even if your child cries at the sight of a needle like mine, he deserves to know that it is going to happen. I usually tell my son that we have a doctor’s appointment, and when its time for the shot or blood work I let him know on the way there… Thats what works best for me… Each child is different. You know your child so be honest at the right time for them… The number one thing is honesty. Your child must be able to trust you through any ordeal… if you lie and keep things from him or her you have broken that trust and now your child must go through these tests not trusting anyone.
5. The most important thing I can leave you with is to be your child’s advocate. No one cares about your child more than you. Do not let him slip through the cracks at school or at the doctor’s office. Talk to the teachers and the doctors. Make sure the teachers are conscious of the signals when your child is not feeling well. Make sure that they understand how imperative it is for your child to have whatever he needs (whether it be medication, water throughout the day, more hand washing than a normal child, being kept warm, etc..). Make sure doctors try to schedule tests around times that do not interfere with trips or school days when possible. Also, really keep track of what tests are absolutely necessary. Our children are our life and it is our responsibility to give them the best life they can have.
Here are some additional resources on helping your chronically ill children:
- The Chronically Ill Child in School
- Caring for a Seriously Ill Child
- Stress patterns in parents of chronically ill children
- HOW PARENTS CAN HELP THEIR CHILD COPE WITH A CHRONIC ILLNESS
- Council for Children & Adolescents with Chronic Health Conditions