Caring for Families

Caring for families

A time of anxiety in a family comes when a family member has a serious or extended illness. When a parent, sibling, or grandparent has a serious illness, this can be traumatic for a preschooler as normal family routines are changed and the parents may not be present all the time. When a preschooler has an extended illness, there is the trauma of multiple doctor visits, hospital stays, needles, and treatments. If broken limbs are involved, there is the issue of keeping the preschooler immobile for a period of time. This would be traumatic on the entire family.

As a preschool teacher, you may have a preschooler or one of their family members who becomes ill for an extended period of time. Since you are a familiar person to the preschooler and his or her family, you serve in a position in which you can minister to this family. Consider ways in which to serve a family in which there is a serious illness. 

  • Set a time of day to pray for the family every day. Encourage others to join you in prayer at that time, or choose times to cover the family in prayer throughout the day.

  • Give a copy of Sometimes I Am Afraid for the parents to read to young children. An illness within a family can cause anxiety for preschoolers, and this book will help parents have conversations with their preschoolers about their fears.

  • Offer to provide assistance with household tasks. Do they need someone to mow the lawn or take their car for an oil change?

  • Take an activity bag to a child in the hospital or who is sick at home. Use a tote bag and include simple activities a child can do while in bed, such as a note pad and crayons, a small book, finger puppets, or a foam puzzle. Refrain from including food items or candy because of food restrictions the child may have because of the illness.

  • Care for other children in the family when parents take a sick child to a doctor appointment or when the parent has a doctor appointment.

  • Send get-well ecards or greeting cards regularly. Write a prayer to include with each card.

  • Set up a meal schedule for taking meals to the family. Several websites are available to help organize meals. Search for “meal sign up.”

  • Offer to take family members to church. If parents cannot attend because of sickness, whether themselves or a child, offer to pick up their other children to go with you to church.

  • Have your Mission Friends make a flower arrangement out of tissue-paper flowers to give in showing their care to the family. Find other ideas for Helping Others activities in Big Enough to Help Others

A serious illness is an anxious time within a family. Listen to the needs expressed by the parents and preschoolers, and seek ways to help meet their needs. You can be the hands and feet of Christ as you offer hope to families during these critical times.

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