Parent Skill #1 — Learn about your child's illness

Learn everything you can about your child's illness and treatment

Young child. You should consider this to be one of the most important tasks of caring for your child.

Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the easier it will be for you, your child and your family as you face the challenges of a chronic illness. Knowledge enables you to monitor your child's medical needs and know when medical attention might be needed. Knowledge also enables you to determine what your child should and should not do regarding activities, school and responsibilities. Knowledge about your child's illness also will enable you to thoroughly answer any questions your child might have about the illness.

There are many ways to learn more about your child's illness, including videos, pamphlets, books and online sources. Your child's health care providers are the best source to direct you to accurate and comprehensive information sources. But, do not be afraid to ask your child's health care providers any questions you might have.

It is common for parents to need information to be repeated more than once or to ask for further information or clarification. Your child's health care team is there to help and support your child and you. They expect you to ask many questions, and they understand that they are providing much new information and using unfamiliar terms. It is also helpful to keep your questions in a notebook or journal and to take that with you to each clinic or hospital visit. This way, you can write down questions between visits, and take notes when information is given to you. A three-ring binder is an escellent place to keep this information. Pages can be added or deleted as needed throughout your child's treatment.

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