What can I do to help my brother or sister?
Many siblings (and parents too) feel helpless when they have a child in the family with cancer, but there are some things that you can do to help your brother or sister feel better!
Here are some ideas to help your brother or sister. It is important to remember that these are only suggestions. All you really need to do is keep being you!
- Draw a picture for your brother or sister to take to hospital. Hospital rooms can be very dull and pictures on the wall can remind them of home as well as cheer the room up.
- See if your brother or sister would like a massage. Not everyone likes a foot rub, some may enjoy a shoulder massage or a gentle tummy rub. Make sure you ask first. Your sister or brother will be able to tell you if it’s something they’d like. Massages aren’t for everyone so it’s good to check first. If you would like to learn some simple, relaxing and fun massage gestures, please check this section
- When your brother or sister is well enough they might enjoy doing activities with you, like – craft activities, jewellery-making, doing jigsaw, painting or anything else you both enjoy.
- Take silly photos together and create a scrapbook. Take photos of home, friends, pets and family.
- Read a book to your brother or sister.
- Write letters or cards to your sister or brother and your parents when they are in hospital.
- Try growing flowers or plants in a special part of the garden, or home and watch them grow. When your brother or sister is in hospital you could send them photos of how the flowers are doing.
- If your sister or brother went to school before they got cancer, you could suggest to the class teacher that the pupils write letters to send to the hospital. You can pass them on.
- Comfort one another. Just being in the same room as your brother or sister can be a big comfort. Do what feels best for the two of you. Give hugs or say “I love you.” Laugh or cry together. Talk to one another. Or just hang out in silence.
- Help your brother or sister stay in touch with friends. Ask your sibling’s friends to write notes, send pictures, or record messages. Help your brother or sister send messages to their friends. If your brother or sister is up for it, invite friends to hang out with them.
- Share a laugh. You’ve probably heard that laughter is good medicine. Watch a comedy or tell jokes together, if that is your thing.
- When you can, keep smiling!
The ideas above are for those times when you have extra energy to give. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. You deserve it.
Source: The Child Cancer Foundation New Zeland
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