Parenting: ‘What do I tell my toddler when I’m sick and go to hospital?’


On this week’s ‘Parenting’ section on the Moncrieff demonstrate, 1 listener sought tips about what to explain to her toddler when she will get sick and desires to go to the healthcare facility. 

Joanna Fortune, psychotherapist specialising in Child & Adult Psychotherapy, joined Moncrieff to remedy this and other listeners’ concerns.

The dilemma: 

“I have Cystic Fibrosis and am a mom of a 2 and a 1/2 year previous tiny girl. I have been in and out of medical center a couple of instances for quick stays since she was born but lately was introduced in for a for a longer period continue to be of 10 days.

“Because returning residence, my daughter has been performing out a good deal. Of training course, she has usually experienced her regular toddler tantrums but she is significantly on edge at the instant, spitting on the ground, throwing factors, bedtime is a substantial ordeal which takes in excess of an hour to finally settle her.

“I comprehend that this is all a response to my leaving her but just not absolutely sure how to offer with it with her, now and if this transpires once more in the future. We failed to inform her I was in hospital this time, as an alternative telling her I had to “go to work”

“This is because the past time I was unwell and was brought into medical center for a couple of days she was fixated on “Mammy is sick” for weeks soon after so we felt it most effective to safeguard her and not get worried her yet again.

“Would enjoy tips on the greatest solution. “

Parenting: ‘What do I convey to my toddler when I’m sick and go to medical center?’

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The information: 

“First of all, I imagine when you’re residing with a major health and fitness affliction like cystic fibrosis, just to start out with this, it is okay to put you initial when you require to. 

“I imagine as mom and dad the message is generally, ‘It’s about the youngsters.’ Of course, focusing on our small children is seriously essential but you are modelling anything for your child from the youngest age when you can exhibit her that when you really feel unwell, you get treatment of by yourself. 

“So it is all right to set by yourself initial. I just want to emphasise that. 

“I appreciate that you flag typical toddler tantrums due to the fact two and a half and tantrums – they go hand in hand. 

“But this is a small about and earlier mentioned and what I’m looking through into this is that there has been an amplification of regular tantrums that certainly goes alongside the hospitalisation. 

“So when you notify her – and I totally get why you did it but I’m constantly heading to say, ‘Don’t lie to children’ for the reason that it just breaks rely on. 

“This ‘Go to work’ is pretty vague and I imagine at two and a half you are like, ‘What is this mystical put named work and why did it go on so extended?’ and it just signifies that every single time you genuinely go to do the job it triggers a anxiety response of ‘Are you likely to disappear for 10 times?’ 

“It’s really complicated to tell a younger youngster but also cystic fibrosis is part of your loved ones story. So this is likely to be a little something your youngster grows up with… and it’s going to be an expanding recognition. 

“So I do consider you require to convey to her but it is how you frame it for younger children is really critical. 

“So you could frame it like, ‘Mum has to go keep with the medical practitioners for a minimal while so they can assist her get genuinely well.’ 

“So your concentration is on acquiring nicely – not remaining unwell – if that tends to make sense. 

“And I know that seems like just semantics but terms subject and specifically with younger children.” 

A clinic in Dublin. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov /

Joanna ongoing: 

“And if you really don’t have one, get a healthcare enjoy kit and participate in out the job of doctor and client – and job reverse it! That you get to be the client and she gets to be the medical professional healing you. 

“And then she will get to be the affected individual and you get to choose treatment of her in the play.” 

She extra: 

“I imagine it’s genuinely critical when you are parenting with a considerable sickness that you aim on what you can do mainly because there will be times when you imagine, ‘I can do additional!’ Excellent – do that! 

“And there will be times when you’re like, ‘You know what, I will need to dig into what I connect with armchair engage in, when I’m not getting out of the armchair but I’m likely to have ready what I contact a few rainy working day activities’ – small parental stamina actions.”

Primary image: A toddler and relative. 


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