If your children have had the chance to know and love your parents as they’ve grown up, it can be very challenging for them when their grandparents’ health starts to decline. But as your parents age, things will happen that will likely be signs of their imminent decline of their health. For some, this may come slowly and over a long period of time. But for others, they have received a diagnosis that causes a big shift in their health. So to help your child adjust to this new version of their grandparent, here are three tips for helping your child deal with the declining health of a grandparent.
Don’t Shut Them Out
When your parent starts to go downhill, you may be tempted to keep your children away as a way to minimize their sadness when Grandma or Grandpa dies. However, Family Education shares that this isn’t actually as helpful as you might think. Rather than trying to preemptively stop their relationship, explain to your child exactly what’s going on and how their loved one is getting sick or old. While this might take some time for your child to adjust to, this time they’re able to spend together will be very valuable to them in their future as adults.
Help Them Express Their Emotions
Once your child realizes that Grandma or Grandpa aren’t doing well with their health, your child may feel a wide range of emotions while dealing with this change. As their parent, it’s up to you to help them work through these emotions in a healthy way. According to Katherine Lee, a contributor to Everyday Health, one great option is to have them write their emotions down for themselves. If you tell them these are their own private thoughts, it may help them be more open and honest about what they’re feeling. And once their grandparent has died, you could encourage them to write one final letter telling their grandparent how much they love them and saying a last goodbye.
Enjoy The Time They Can Spend Together
Even with just a short amount of time left, it’s important that you allow your child to enjoy their time with their grandparent. Alison Bradshaw, a contributor to Essential Kids, recommends that you make their time together something to look forward to and that you document what they do together. Once their grandparent is no longer around, your child may like looking back at those photos or videos and remembering the time they were able to spend together.
If you’re worried about how to explain to your child about the declining health of their grandparent, consider using the tips mentioned above to help make this transition easier.