When a brother or sister visits the hospital, siblings may feel lonely, guilty, or jealous. Here are some ways to help them cope with their sibling's hospital stay:
- Include siblings in conversations about the hospital visit or surgery. Encourage them to ask questions.
- Tell siblings someone will always be there to take care of them. They will not be forgotten.
- Let siblings choose if they want to visit their brother or sister when possible.
- Spend private time with siblings.
- Contact child life services if you need help preparing for or explaining a hospital visit to siblings.
Difficulties for Siblings:
- Separation from caregivers and sibling
- Change in familiar routines
- Feelings of guilt related to thoughts about their ill sibling
- Fears or misconceptions regarding hospitalization
- Decrease in attention from caregivers
Behaviors to Expect from Your Child:
- Eat or talk less
- Show withdrawn behavior
- Act out in a way to get more attention
- Give outburst of stored up feelings
- Return to behaviors of an earlier age
Child Life Specialists Can Help Your Child:
- Process events
- Prepare for a visit to the hospital
- Stay connected with hospitalized sibling
- Cope with feelings