How siblings may feel
It is common for siblings to have:
- Guilt that the sickness is somehow their fault.
- Jealousy of a sick sibling’s attention or gifts.
- Anger or acting out at friends, siblings or others.
- Worry that they may catch the illness or get sick.
- Loneliness or feeling left out of the hospital experience and family routines.
- Sadness and avoidance of some of their normal activities.
How you can help
- Explain what is happening in terms siblings can understand.
- Clarify that they did not cause the illness or condition.
- Encourage siblings to visit the hospital.
- Talk with our child life specialists about how to prepare for a sibling visit.
- Ask siblings about any concerns or questions they may have.
- Give your children ways to express themselves, such as drawing, writing or playing.
- Spend time with siblings, even for a short time.
- Call them from the hospital
- Do their bedtime ritual over the phone or a video connection.
- Attend their games or other events.
- Identify a trusted adult your child can talk to.
- Encourage siblings to go to school and maintain normal routines.
- Siblings of Children with Chronic Illnesses or Disabilities, American Academy of Pediatrics