Explaining a transplant to a child can be difficult. Their ability to understand what is happening varies, according to their age and maturity, but it is important to include them in discussions about transplant, and to arm yourself with the facts beforehand.
This website has a wealth of information to help you and your child navigate the transplant experience.
If Your Child is the Transplant Patient
Being honest with your children is important. But when should you discuss a transplant with your child and his or her siblings?
It all depends on the child's age. If you have several children of different ages, discussing the transplant with them individually may be best.
What to Expect During and After Your Child's Transplant
The transplant and early recovery period are a critical time. You'll also want to be prepared for late complications that can occur many months or years after transplant that are specific to pediatric transplant survivors.
Looking Ahead to the Future
Our Video Learning Library has several great videos to help parents understand how transplant can affect a child's health and well-being long-term. Whether it is learning challenges, emotional issues or helping your child transition to adult care, the videos provide a comprehensive overview of how to detect and manage both medical and emotional challenges a child will face after transplant.
If You Are the Transplant Patient
Depending on their age, children may worry about different things. Younger children may fear they caused your disease by thinking bad thoughts or misbehaving. Older children will worry about how they will be cared for while you are at the hospital. Because they are at an age when they are seeking independence, teens may be less willing to share their concerns with you.
Read about how best to talk with children about your transplant, how to prepare your children's teachers and classmates, and behaviors that may signal your child needs help coping.
Helping Children Cope When the Patient Returns Home
Although it's a time to celebrate when the patient returns home, the family routine can be disrupted for many weeks or months. Learn ways to help children cope with the "new normal" in the household.
Want to Talk to Another Parent Who Has Been Through Transplant?
BMT InfoNet's Caring Connections Program can put you in touch with other parents who have either helped their child through transplant, or helped their children cope while an adult in the family had a transplant.
Other organizations provide helpful information and programs to support patients and their families during a pediatric transplant. Learn about them in our Resource Directory.