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Helping a Child Cope with a Loved One’s Terminal Illness

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This Blog Was Wrote As A Guest Blog By: Laura Pearson

When a loved one becomes ill, many people are affected. Family members may be unsure of how best to help, while children might not understand exactly what’s happening. For those who are coping with a loved one’s terminal illness, it can be extremely difficult to figure out how to start a conversation about what to expect or how to deal with all the feelings that come with it. No one wants their child to be in emotional pain, but it’s important to keep a regular dialogue open about the illness and allow your child to be involved in your loved one’s life.

There are several things you can do to help your child cope during such a difficult time. From letting them visit and even care for your loved one to looking for a support group to help them sort out and possibly share their feelings, there are many ways you can help your child get through the illness of someone they love. Keep reading for tips on how to get started.

Know What to Expect

It’s important to know what to expect, both from your loved one’s illness and from your child. Do some research on the illness to learn how it can affect someone, and understand that an individual who knows their diagnosis is terminal may begin to withdraw from friends and family. While this is normal, it can affect your family and leave your child with many questions. It can also help to understand how to talk to your loved one about their illness and how they’re feeling.

Facing the terminal illness of a loved one can be confusing for young children. They may exhibit many different emotions, from fear to anger to sadness. Understanding the complicated nature of these feelings can allow you to help your child through this difficult time.

Allow Your Child to Be Involved

It can be very helpful for your child to be involved in your loved one’s life and care. Even if it’s only in a limited way, assisting may help your little one feel useful and can give them an outlet for coping with the situation. You might ask your child to help you prepare a meal to take to your loved one or to make a visit and help clean their home. Think of the best ways you and your child can help your loved one during this time.

Focus on the Good Times

It can be very helpful to focus on good memories, so get out some photos of your loved one, watch old home videos, and talk about fun times with your child. Allow them to sort out their feelings by talking them out, and let them know that it’s okay to feel whatever they’re feeling. Sometimes nostalgia can bring about a little sadness, and that’s okay; however, focusing on the good times will help your child see that your loved one has had a good life.

Look for Some Help

Your child may benefit from having a professional to talk to, especially if their grief or sadness begins to affect them at school or keeps them from getting good sleep. Look for a therapist, counselor, or support group that can help, and attend with your child to help them get through this difficult time with support.

Helping your child cope with such a difficult life experience can be hard on you, too, so it’s important to take care of your mental health during this time. You may be experiencing grief as well, which can take a toll on you both mentally and physically. Talk to a professional if you feel you need help getting through it.

Image via Pixabay by Langll


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Healthy Ways Kids Can Cope With Anxiety

black and white photo of a boy walking his dog

This Blog Was Wrote As A Guest Blog By: Laura Pearson

Many kids with anxiety do not receive the care their condition requires. A whopping 80% of children with anxiety are not formally diagnosed, which makes it difficult for them to receive the treatment they need. If you suspect your child has anxiety, schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, psychologist, or psychiatrist for testing and treatment. The suggestions below may also help alleviate common symptoms associated with anxiety, regardless of whether your child has a chronic mental health condition or is temporarily concerned about a specific situation.

Pursue a Hobby

Anxiety is generally not an unobtrusive condition. It occupies an affected child’s thoughts frequently, making it difficult to focus on schoolwork or accomplish daily commitments. In an effort to fend off feelings of fear or loneliness, many children turn to hobbies.

Taking up a hobby can boost your child’s mood by giving them an enjoyable activity to concentrate on rather than dwelling on feelings of uneasiness. Hobbies give kids a sense of purpose, which is important because many children with anxiety struggle with low self esteem.

Not sure which hobbies your child should try? Here are some ideas for younger kids:

⦁ Drawing
⦁ Painting
⦁ Singing
⦁ Collecting rocks or other objects

Older kids may enjoy the same hobbies as younger kids, as well as:

⦁ Writing
⦁ Baking
⦁ Growing plants or flowers
⦁ Knitting
⦁ Scrapbooking
⦁ Candle making

You and your child can get additional ideas by browsing the craft section of a local retailer.

Exercise Regularly

There are physical and environmental factors that make a child likely to develop anxiety. Some experts believe that anxiety stems from inflammation in the body. If that theory is true, then exercising regularly may help decrease inflammation, thus reducing or eliminating the symptoms of anxiety.

Before you encourage your child to start an exercise regimen, meet with his or her pediatrician to make sure it’s okay. If your child is usually not active, start with gentle, simple activities like walking or swimming before building up to more strenuous activities or sports. Yoga is another excellent option for kids with anxiety because it’s gentle yet effective and may help promote a calm state of mind.

Take Up Dog Walking

Does your child have any furry friends? Many children find joy and comfort when they spend time with friendly animals. Encourage your child to help walk your family’s dog, or ask neighbors if your son or daughter can help walk their pets. Here are some potential benefits associated with dog walking:

⦁ Exposure to fresh air
⦁ Access to sunlight, which provides Vitamin D
⦁ Encourages physical activity
⦁ Improved mood
⦁ Sense of purpose
⦁ Ability to earn extra spending money

Some dogs are difficult to manage, so you may want to limit your child’s exposure to them. A dog who frequently bites people or runs away may cause more stress for your kid rather than helping them feel better.

You may want to make sure that your child only walks dogs that are vaccinated against rabies or other common illnesses that affect dogs. Dogs can pass some canine illnesses on to humans. The same is true for many other animals, such as cats and birds.

Practice Meditation

Meditation isn’t just for adults. When your child feels anxious, encourage them to sit down and meditate until they feel less worried. Close the curtains and turn off the TV, or put on some soothing music to help your child relax. Have them close their eyes and inhale through their nose, then exhale through their mouth. This should be done slowly and carefully.

Your child can continue focusing on taking deep breaths, or you can ask them to picture something that makes them happy. Depending on their age, this may be a special toy or stuffed animal, a friend or family member, or a special location.

Untreated anxiety can make it difficult for your child to handle homework, extracurricular activities, or outings with friends. Encourage your child to manage anxiety with the helpful coping methods above.

Image via Pixabay

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Your Child Can Learn the ABC’s of Getting Good Zzz’s

This Blog Was Wrote As A Guest Blog By: Laura Pearson

Between sleepovers, camp and family vacation, it’s not uncommon for kids to get off their regular sleep routine during the summer. But with the season coming to a close and school right around the corner, it’s important that you get them back into a healthy sleep routine.

Along with making it easier to get up in the morning, other benefits derived from quality shut-eye for youngsters include increased attention span and learning ability (important when hitting the books), growth support, heart health, weight maintenance and a tougher immune system to help combat all those germs from other peers. Here are some ways to create a back-to-school sleep routine for before and after the first day of class.

Ease Back Into The Sleep Schedule

The best way to adjust your child’s schedule is by easing into it. Sleeping in is easy, but going against the clock is a lot more difficult. With that in mind, gradually set their bedtime back by a half an hour leading up to the first week of school. If you have less time to work with, then you may have to up the ante a bit. If necessary, use a reward system to help motivate your child to get up in the morning.

Set A Homework Routine

Once school starts, create a homework routine that won’t interfere with bedtime. Since studies can sometimes be stressful, it’s not a good idea to schedule a time right before sleeping as it can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Rather, the two most popular possibilities are right after school when your kid is still in work mode, or right after dinner — some kids need a break before diving into homework, so let them choose what works for them.

Eat Dinner At An Appropriate Hour

Eating dinner at the same time every night affects both the homework and sleeping schedules, so choose a time that makes sense — not too late and not too early so you don’t feel stressed coming in the door after work. While there will be some days where everyone’s schedules clash, do make an effort to have dinner as a family on a regular basis.

Research suggests family dinners improve relationships, promote healthier food choices, lead to better grades, increase happiness and relieve stress. Should your child have a hankering for something before bed, don’t hold back as it can make it difficult for them to sleep. However, choose a small snack that’s high in protein and fiber such as hummus, eggs, berries, Greek yogurt, and unsweetened cereal. Avoid sugary sweets and caffeine as that will only make them wired.

Improve Their Sleeping Conditions

Regardless of age, a bedroom should be a place of peace so that it’s easier to fall asleep at night. Start by decluttering — or having your child clean his/her room providing they’re old enough to do so. Not to mention, experts believe that clutter causes kids to become stressed, depressed and teaches them poor habits for the future.

A quality mattress is another a crucial component to good sleep. An old, worn out mattress can negatively affect your child’s rest. Mattresses older than five years will start showing their age by sagging and losing their shape. A new mattress with proper support doesn’t have to break the bank; just be sure to carefully read through mattress reviews for a model that won’t give you sticker shock.

The earlier you can get your child into the back-to-school mode, the better it is for both of you. If you fell behind this year, no worries — simply take note for next summer. After all, getting quality sleep is a year-round concern that’s part of an entire routine, so make sure you’re also addressing meal and homework times so that your kid feels grounded.

Photo Credit: Pexels

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The Teen Stress Epidemic: Tips on how to manage anxiety

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This Blog Was Wrote As A Guest Blog By: Laura Pearson

Trouble fitting in, issues with self-confidence, hours of homework, pending career choices. All of this combined with the pressures of social media and many teens are running for cover. Is it any wonder anxiety rates among teens are on the rise? Increasingly, today’s teens are over scheduled, over burdened, and overly unhappy.

Imagine this scenario: They arise (usually before the sun) to tackle a full day of learning, then they’re off to an extracurricular activity, followed by required service hours, then home for a few hours of homework, a quick dinner followed by some college research, and then finally bed. With all of this, there’s no time left for anything remotely resembling relaxation.

If you’re a teen or the parent of a teen whose anxiety is on the rise, make some time to incorporate these tips to improve well-being and manage stress.

Relaxation Activities

Implementing yoga or Tai-chi exercises into a weekly routine can greatly diminish overwhelming stress. According to Harvard Medical School, yoga stabilizes the body’s stress response systems. These systems include heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing, all of which correlate to stress levels.

These exercises also work to help participants gain control over their mind-body connection through relaxation. These techniques can also transition to real-life stress triggers, providing valuable healthy responses to counteract emotional breakdowns or outbursts and other unhealthy coping symptoms.

Get plenty of zzzzzz

Teens and young adults are notorious for staying up late and missing sleep. And all that missed sleep leads to trouble. Research has found a direct correlation between lack of sleep and anxiety disorders. Not to mention that lack of sleep weakens your immune system, causes weight gain and raises your blood pressure.

According to the American Pediatric Association, teens should be getting between eight and 10 hours of sleep per night. Adhering to these guidelines has a wealth of benefits:

  • Better memory

  • Improved creativity

  • Better performance

  • Better grades

  • Heightened attentiveness


Having a social life is critical for a teen’s mental health. Studies like one conducted at Warwick Medical School in England, have found that having friends decreases the probability for depression by 50% in teens. Friends provide a valuable outlet for communicating and managing any stressors that may lead to depression.

Teens without a strong social network should considering joining academic clubs, sports teams, or other social organizations. Schools often have events to promote groups at the beginning of every academic year; if you missed that, consult your school’s guidance counselor.

Managing major life changes

If your family is going through a major change, say a move for example, stress levels can soar. Moving is a stressful time for everyone, but children can be most impacted by this transition:

  • Both parents and children should talk through all of the feelings associated with the move. Keeping the lines of communication open to share positive feelings and feelings of concern will smooth out the transition.

  • Establish a good form of communication with your social network before moving. You don’t have to abandon friends when you move. Today’s advanced technologies like Skype and Instagram provide plenty of opportunities to stay in touch.  Also, consider setting a reunion date before you move so you’ll something to look forward to.

  • Making new friends is important. Find ways to socialize at church, at school, and through taking up any old hobbies like dance classes in your new hometown.


Sometimes stress rises above the normal level of anxiety to a clinical level that requires proper treatment. If you’re seeing these warning signs, it’s important to seek counseling.

  • Sadness and irritability that rarely resolves

  • Intense mood swings

  • Day-to-day functions are a struggle, schoolwork is missing, grades are dropping, absences are increasing, low energy, missing conversations and poor personal hygiene

  • Onset of drug or alcohol use

It’s important to realize anxiety isn’t unique. In fact, nearly 20% of Americans are dealing with anxiety. That’s why parents and teens should use this time to actively pursue open lines of communication while developing an action plan to manage stress and anxiety. These difficult emotions don’t have to determine your day or your life and you can take control. Be there for one another and be patient. Most of all, remember that out of every dark spot comes incredible light.