Siblings of children with cancer can feel a lot of stress as family dynamics change. They may not be the ones feeling sick, being poked and prodded, or spending long days and nights in the hospital, but their lives are getting upended, too. Suddenly their sibling can’t play like they used to, their parents aren’t around as much, and they might be scared and confused about what’s happening to their brother or sister.
We know how difficult it is for the parents who love their children equally but are forced to give so much of their time and attention to the one whose life is at risk — and how difficult it is for the child who’s left on the sidelines. That’s why we’ve developed these resources specifically for siblings of children with cancer: to help them navigate the complicated thoughts, emotions and circumstances of the unique position they’re in.
Oliver’s Story: A Book for Siblings of Children with Cancer
Created for children ages 3 to 8, this 40-page illustrated book addresses the questions siblings may have when their brother or sister is diagnosed with cancer, and offers constructive ways they can give them support. The book is available in English and Spanish. ACCO families can order a copy for free, and others can be purchased on the ACCO store.
Paul and the Dragon: An Animated Film About Childhood Cancer
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, they’re thrust into a world of hospitals and doctors, tests and procedures, strange equipment and complex medical terminology. It can be scary and confusing for siblings, too, who might not know what questions they should ask. This 25-minute cartoon of a boy battling an evil cancer-dragon helps explain childhood cancer and its treatment in an entertaining yet truthful way. Families can order a DVD for free or stream it online.
Print-at-Home Activity Sheets
This selection of Mad Libs, coloring pages, games and puzzles can help siblings pass the time while they’re waiting for their brother or sister to finish treatment. They’re also a great low-energy activity to do together on the days their sick sibling needs to rest.
Emotional Communication Kit
Dealing with childhood cancer in the family brings up tough emotions for everyone. This emotional communication kit, designed for children and parents to use together, helps siblings identify and talk about the range of feelings they experience. Families can request a free copy of the kit or simply use this online version.
Childhood cancer is hard on the whole family, but we’re here with you, every step of the way. Join ACCO to take advantage of all of our free resources and support for children and families affected by childhood cancer.