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Staying Connected with Your Family

When you are caring for a child with a serious illness, it can be hard to keep up family traditions and relationships. This can be even harder if your sick child is at St. Jude and siblings are far away.

Making small changes in your regular routine can help family members stay close, keep up old traditions, and even create new ones. Here are some ideas:

  • Have siblings write letters to each other about daily events.
  • If you are at St. Jude with the patient, send special letters to your children at home. Tell them your favorite things about them, what reminds you of them, what you miss most about them, and what you can’t wait to do with them when you see them again.
  • If you have a laptop at the hospital with a video camera, go to and set up an account so you can video chat with your children back home. You can do this if they have computer access at home.
  • Send cards for special events.
  • Call home and make sure to talk to every child.
  • Read a good night story over the phone.
  • Get a blank book your children can write and draw in. Send it back and forth between home and St. Jude.
  • Email special little notes to your children at home
  • Make a video about how much you miss your children at home, and then email it to them.
  • Create a list of special things to do when your family is back together.
  • Send your children at home pictures of the hospital. This can help them know what to expect when they visit.

If you need help with any of these things, just ask your St. Jude child life specialist.