Anybody with cancer can have a difficult time trying to stay positive. This task can be even more challenging for a child living with cancer. If the past year included the unexpected news that your son or daughter or a special child in your life has cancer, you may be apprehensive about the coming year. But negative thoughts can also have an impact on how kids respond to treatment. So, make an effort to make the new year a positive one for a child with cancer. Here's what you can do to achieve this goal.
Repeating a Comforting Song, Phrase, or Poem
As treatments continue, your child may have times when things will be unpleasant or temporarily uncomfortable. During difficult times like this, encourage your child to replace their negative thoughts with a comforting song, phrase, or poem. If your child isn't old enough to do this themselves, help them by joining in while encouraging them to relax and calmly breathe.
Keeping a Gratitude Journal
This is basically a notebook where your child will write down positive things they are thankful for each day, such as seeing a beautiful sunrise or enjoying fun family moments. When there are days that are more challenging for your child during the coming year, encourage them to read their journal and be grateful for the good things in their life.
Making a Wall of Love
With younger children who have difficulty expressing their feelings in writing, it may be helpful to have them create a wall of love. It's a simple arts and crafts project that can be done with poster board and some sticky notes. Each note will have something on it that your child loves, whether it's their family members, a favorite pet, or even beloved stuffed animals. And when they have days when they're feeling down, they can look at the board and see everything they love that gives them comfort.
Watching/Reading Inspirational Stories
If your child will be old enough during the coming year, let them watch or read inspirational stories about other kids who have successfully dealt with cancer. While every child has unique circumstances, it can be helpful to learn how other children coped with their treatments while still living their lives.
Lastly, schedule regular "worry breaks" to help your children relax and think about things other than treatment or physical limitations. You might do this by having a family game night or planning an outing to a favorite restaurant or recreation area. If your child has certain needs because of their cancer, make arrangements for appropriate accommodations ahead of time so things can be set up in a way that doesn't make the situation awkward for them.