Do you have a friend facing an unexpected (or planned) hospital stay with a child? Wondering what you can do to help them? Or are YOU facing a hospital stay with your child, and feeling too overwhelmed to come up with something to suggest when others ask how they can help you?
Here are some ideas of things I’ve done for others, things others have done for us, and things that just sound nice.
- Bring Food.
Real, Homecooked meals
Vegetables (vegetables are so hard to get in the hospital)
Flavored Drinks, or pop if the person drinks pop.
French Fries (seriously, we’re in for about a week and I start craving french fries from McD’s)
- Gift Cards
Places that deliver food to the hospital
Hospital system food
Places not owned by hospital but within the hospital (coffee shop, book store)
Hospital hair salon
Other hospital services that are “extras” like that (UIHC has massage stations, for example)
- Unexpected surprises. Of any sort.
- Treats for the child.
I’ve been surprised that most of the hospital gowns I sell are actually purchased by friends or relatives, not parents, as a fun surprise for the hospitalized child.
Craft or activity kits
A new movie or game
If appropriate, bringing your kids for a visit, with maybe a board game or group-play video game
- Mail. I love getting mail when I’m in the hospital.
- Texts or email just to check in.
- Books, magazines (or gift card to hospital gift shop to buy one for themself)
- Use of a laptop, kindle, ipad, or similar if they don’t have one
- Offering to hang out with the child so the parent can run to the store, go for a walk, go outside, go somewhere and cry, whatever.
- Help at Home
Promises to shovel snow if needed, or mow grass if needed. (in our case, Randy can obviously do these things himself when I’m in with Teddy, but he also has to work full time and be a single parent and he also wants to come visit us on the weekends and it’s just plain NICER for him to not have to worry about these things.)
Meals for parent/siblings at home
Ferrying mail between home and hospital
Helping with other kids (taking them to lessons or classes, taking to/picking up from school, taking on fun field trips, providing before/after school care, etc.)
- And today, in a group I’m in, someone suggested mini bottles of liquor. Which are of course forbidden in hospitals, and aren’t appropriate for everyone, but I’ve had days when an amaretto and coke would have been a nice way to finish out the evening.