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100 Tips for Nannies and Families

The advice in this book comes from Candi Wingate, President of Care4hire.com.
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Explaining a Medical Crisis to the Kids

Sit down with your kids and tell them as a family about the situation.  Be honest with your kids about what is going on and how it will affect them.  For example, you may say, “You know that Uncle Joe’s been sick since he came to live with us.  When he got sick, he couldn’t work anymore, so he lost his job.  That means that he lost his health insurance.  So, all his medical bills became his responsibility to pay in full . . . which he couldn’t do since he didn’t have a job anymore.  That’s when we started helping him out.  Now, we’re going to need to cut back on buying things that aren’t essential so that we can continue to help Uncle Joe.  It’s ok, though, because, when you love someone, you help them when you can.  I know you will miss doing some of the fun but expensive things you did before, but please have patience.  Uncle Joe won’t live forever, and we need to be responsive to him because his needs are significant.  When Uncle Joe’s time is done, we can return to doing the things we did before.  Until then, perhaps we can spend some of the time we would have spent on those fun but expensive activities doing something for Uncle Joe instead.  We each can find our own way to attend to Uncle Joe.  Whether it’s reading to him, administering his medicine, feeding him, or just spending time visiting with him, we can do the right thing for Uncle Joe and for the goodness of our own sense of self.  Can we rely on you to support Uncle Joe in his hour of need?”  If you observe any of your kids saying or doing anything that suggests that they may be upset about the situation, visit with them privately.  Ask them how they are feeling.  What are their hopes?  Concerns?  Let your kids know that it’s ok to speak with you openly and honestly, and be understanding and pragmatic in your responses.   For example, if one of your kids tells you that s/he is upset about having to give up desired activities “just because of Uncle Joe”, you may say, “I know that you will really miss those activities for the while that you will not be able to participate in them.  I also know that, if you were in Uncle Joe’s shoes, you would want someone to help you out, so it’s the right thing to do to help out Uncle Joe.  I know what a kind-hearted person you are, and I know you’ll embrace this once you’re past the understandable disappointment about this brief period away from your activities.  It won’t last forever, honey.  You can return to these activities once Uncle Joe no longer needs us.  For the time that we have Uncle Joe, let’s just do what we can to make his remaining time as pleasant as possible.  Ok?”

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