Trying to explain a stroke to a child can be difficult no matter their age. With such an earth-shattering event, children naturally may be devastated about the state of their relative but not have any real understanding. Fortunately, there are ways to address this and provide them with adequate support. So how do you explain strokes to children?
For particularly young children, processing all the chaos can be extremely difficult. That’s why talking to them and supporting them is crucial. To help them get through this, you can:
- Provide reassurance
Tell them that what has happened is not their fault and nothing could’ve been done to avoid the stroke happening. This will help them feel better about the situation and that they aren’t to blame for anything.
- Highlight care factor
Don’t forget to remind a child that whilst everything may seem hectic, the stroke patient is receiving all the care they need and that the doctors will look after them all day and night.
- Eliminate any worry
Always remind them that they are at no risk of getting sick and neither is anybody else. Providing this with added reassurance will help a young child stay calmer throughout the ordeal.
When explaining things to older kids, it is better to be a bit more upfront about the situation. Treating your older kids like adults makes the situation much easier to handle and feed into their inquisitive nature. With that in mind, try to consider:
- Explaining the basics
Older kids and teenagers are naturally curious about what has happened when a stroke occurs. Use this as a platform to explain the basics of the condition, what may have triggered it and how it is more frequent in older relatives.
- Avoid missing details
It’s natural to want to protect your children from the truth, but doing so may upset them more. Be honest about the gravity of the situation but also let them feel included as part of the family.
- Tell them about recovery period
It is important to inform about the recovery process and that it may take long. Explaining this may be of great help as the older children may want to help out further down the line and feel like they are supporting their sick relative.
- Don’t fear the inevitable!
Explaining strokes to children will be difficult no matter their age group but knowing how to approach it can make a big difference. Using these strategies can make a tough situation easier to handle and make an entire family feel more united during such a tough time. Involve your treating physician if you need support.
Always look for the silver lining!
This document does not constitute the practice of medical consultation nor medical advice. Always seek the advice of your treating physician and/or specialist. If you suspect that you are experiencing symptoms of stroke, call for an ambulance immediately.