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February 5, 2024by Lauren0

Mommy is Sick

Teaching Empathy and Maintaining Attachment When you are Sick

Every parent of young children knows the pain of being sick and caring for a child who may or may not also be sick.

It can be a taxing experience, but it is also an opportunity for growth. Growth? You might be thinking to yourself…GROWTH!?

I am exhausted and have no energy to make this a “teachable moment.” I hear you! I have felt the same when I was sick and caring for my child

… but before you close this email allow me to explain.

When we teach our kids little ways that they can care for us when we are sick, we are not asking them to take responsibility for our feelings, rather to develop crucial empathy that will serve them in relationships later in life. You are also teaching them that it is ok to ask for help when they are sick.

Here are some ways you can teach your children empathic ways to respond to you being sick:

1. They can give you a hug and tell you they love you
2. They can offer you a cup of water
3. They can use quiet voices
4. They can ask how you are feeling
5. They can offer to do age appropriate chores (for young ones this may be as small as putting away their toys)
6. They can express sadness that you are hurting
7. If your family has a particular spiritual practice they can practice that, such as prayer

Now…I get that this type of connection is not always an option. In our world today, COVID-19 has shifted the way we offer support to those who are sick with parameters of social distancing and quarantine in place. If your child is with another caregiver and you are unable to connect with your child in person, here are some creative ways to maintain connection and foster empathy:

1. Inform your child how much you love them and that you can’t wait until you are well again and able to give them a big hug.
2.You can do a video call with them or greet at a social distance to do routines such as prayers or books before bed.
3. You can let them know the things you are doing to take care of yourself and how those things will help you get better so you can be with them again soon.

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