Helping children understand illness

How do you explain to a young child about an illness? Having MS and also having an 8 year old, it is often hard for me to get him to understand why I am sometimes too tired to play, but it is also hard for him to understand how mom who is always ready to go go go can’t always do the things he wants her to do when he wants her to do it.

Most of the national organizations have some great resources for kids. They have publications or websites that kids can view so they can realize they are not alone. They can read about the illness in terms that they can understand.

The MS Society has “Keep S’mylin” for kids with parents or loved ones with MS. Here is a link to the National MS Society’s page:

Keep S’myelin

But not only is it explaining to kids dealing with a loved one. What about the kids who have the illness themselves? Pediatric MS is not very common, so here is a great resource for kids to help them understand the disease.

Mighty Special Kids


The American Cancer Society has a wonderful list of suggestions of what to do with a child who has cancer. This is a great list for those who have a loved on (like a sibling or friend) dealing with Cancer.

When Your Child Has Cancer

The American Diabetes Association has many resources for kids and parents as the illness is affecting more and more children everyday. This is a fun site for kids to go to so they can learn and have fun at the same time.

Planet D

Some organizations have camps for kids – either those who have the disease or have a loved one with it. You can search or call any organization and they can tell you what they have to offer. It is so hard for kids to understand and the sense of helplessness they have can be overwhelming. They are used to seeing mom or dad being the strong one, so it is very hard on them to see mom or dad maybe having trouble walking. The main reason I started One Smart Cookie Productions was because of my frustration at my own illness. It was so unfair that I just didn’t feel well enough to play with my son.

I have just touched on a very few of the organizations that offer fantastic resources for children (and adults). It is hard enough to deal with an illness, so turn to the experts for help. Our kids care, and they can be scared and unsure and feel helpless. Giving them some information will help them understand, and they feel able to explain it to others.


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