When someone is diagnosed with cancer, it is not only her or him that’s affected. Cancer affects and changes the lives of the whole family, especially the children.
According to research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), one-third of people with cancer are diagnosed at an age where they are caring for their children. So if you know someone with cancer, say a friend, colleague, sibling, or neighbor, you can extend them your love and concern by showing support for their children as well.
But how can you do that? Well, for one, you can give them a gift. If you don’t know what to get, here’s a simple guide on some of the best gift ideas for cancer patients’ children.
Being a Child of a Cancer Patient
Children will require special needs when their parent is diagnosed with cancer. They will feel confused and concerned about the changes in their parent’s appearance or activities, especially during treatment. Also, depending on their age and development, children will cope in different ways. Some words of encouragement coming from cancer patients’ children can also help them easily cope with the situation.
For one, young children may not have fully developed emotions yet to express what they feel in words. Rather than saying it, they will be more comfortable expressing themselves through play. On the other hand, older children and teenagers are more articulate but are harder to approach. Their reactions will be more intense than that of a child or even an adult.
Learning about how they can react is helpful in choosing which gifts to get. It will also help if you know the child personally as you’ll have an idea of what he/she likes. While children may have different coping mechanisms, one thing remains to be true: now is the best time to let them know that they are not alone.
5 Best Gift Ideas for Cancer Patients Children
Here are simple and yet thoughtful gifts you can give to children whose parent has cancer.
A journal would be a nice gift for children, especially teens, who like to express themselves through writing. It can help them work through their problems and express their feelings openly and freely.
There are a number of good journals out there. If you don’t know where to find one, the Your Diary Sparkly Lock and Keys from Amazon is perfect for girls aged 8 and above.
For a much simpler tone, the Wreck This Journal is great too. On the other hand, for younger boys, you can check out this cool Video Game writing notebook for kids.
Balloons (18 months to 6 years old)
The thing with giving balloons as gifts is the activity you can do with it together. You can all blow it up, draw faces, and give each one a different emotion. There can be a sad balloon, a happy one, curious, surprised, or just about anything. This way, you can help the child learn about the many emotions and help him/her understand that it’s okay to feel as much. This is also a great way to know what the child is feeling.
When you and the child are ready, you can then release the balloon and let it fly up in the sky. If you’re not up to do this, you can suggest for the parents to do it with their child instead.
Sketchbook, Coloring Book, and Drawing Materials (3 to 12 years old)
Drawing, coloring, and painting are good ways for children to express themselves. These are also great for letting them show their fears, dreams, and how they are feeling at the moment. So giving them a sketchbook, coloring book, and other painting or drawing materials would be perfect. Make sure to throw in some pens, paint, markers, and crayons there as well.
To help you with your search, Big Dreams Art Supplies’ offers this great Sketch Book for Kids. It has 119 pages, giving a child more than enough room to be creative. Also, there’s a pretty nice Robot Coloring Book on Amazon that kids will certainly love. It has robot-themed letters and numbers inside, making it educational as well.
Doctor Toys (6 to 12 years old)
Since children use play to cope with their fears and as a way to understand new things, a doctor kit toy set is an ideal gift to give. This will allow him/her to learn about the tools and the setting in a hospital and will give them an idea of what happens during his/her parent’s hospital visits.
Playdough (Babies to 12 years old)
Playdough is a great way to distract a child from any tension or worry he/she is feeling. On top of that, it’s simple and fun. You can add tools such as molders, plastic knives, cookie cutters, or even rolling spoons to make it more fun. If you don’t know where to get them, the Pandapia playdough tools set is one that any child will certainly enjoy playing.
Aside from the items listed above, one of the best gift ideas for cancer patients’ children is your time. Your friend or loved one who has cancer will really appreciate it if you can look after the kids once in a while, especially on treatment days. You can go out on day trips and have ice cream, host playdates, or watch a movie together. This way, your friend can have a chance to rest while feeling at ease knowing that her children are having fun.