Talking to Kids about Breast Cancer
How do we raise the issue of breast cancer to children without getting them too scared?
A few years ago, Bob and Linda were trying to create a “Ballerina” image in Northern Michigan when a uniform police officer and detective walked over to question their intentions. The detective explained they had received a call from teachers of an elementary school located over the hill concerned for what the children would think if they saw a big, older man dressed as a ballerina. We have found over the years that a child’s mind is very open, and they rarely judge Bob without asking questions first. After they find out what we are doing? Well, yes, they laugh!
So, how can we talk to children about breast cancer without them getting scared? While The Tutu Project can be a source for art therapy or escape through laughter, how do we treat the seriousness of a conversation about cancer with children?
Please tell us your story in the comments below to help parents and family members dealing with this issue right now. If you want to enter our giveaway, be sure to use this link to participate! Three participating families will be randomly selected to receive a pink and blue tutu package, including postcards and stickers!
Here are some tips for talking to children about cancer that we found as we researched this idea:
- Plan out the conversation in advance. Seek the advice from professionals at your cancer center, oncologist or a therapist before talking to them. Don’t be afraid to read from notes!
- Make sure children know that the cancer isn’t their fault.
- Tell children how treatment for cancer will affect you and the family’s schedule. Let children know you will still make time for them.
- Reassure children that their needs will be met.
- Keep usual limits in place.
- Invite children to ask questions and learn more.
- Set a positive, optimistic tone without making promises.
- Let teachers, school counselors, coaches, and other caregivers know what is going on.
- Kids need to know that it is still okay to be happy, laugh and act like themselves when faced with illness in the family. Let them know that their smile makes you feel better, no matter the circumstance!
Some of these ideas were sourced from Breastcancer.org (link ://www.breastcancer.org/tips/telling_family/young_kids)
Our team is comprised of Bob and Linda Carey, our advisors and volunteers. Without them, changing lives one smile at a time would never be possible!