Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ten Things You Can Do for Parents of Really Sick Kids

By Jolene Philo

During a family crisis, people want to put feet to their prayers and help in tangible ways. Here are ten practical things you do for parents of really sick kids.

1. Be specific. Say “I’ll come for your laundry Tuesday” rather than “Call me if there’s anything I can do.”
2. Do yard work. Mow, weed and water flower beds, harvest the garden, or shovel snow.
3. Facilitate communication. To avoid inundating parents with phone calls, arrange a daily time for them to call you with updates. Via email, disseminate the updates to church family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
4. Offer technical expertise. Set up webpage for parents at or, two organizations that offer free website for hospital patients.
5. Send an activity box. Depending on the child’s age, illness, ability and interests fill the box with coloring and activity books, crayons, markers, glue, stickers, sewing cards, scissors, paper dolls, and small Lego sets.
6. Send a care package. Depending on the parents’ situation, send note cards, stamps, pens and pencils, travel-sized toiletry items, quarters for vending machines and laundromats, crossword puzzle and Sudoku books, magazines, a phone card, favorite treats, and a copy of A Different Dream for My Child.
7. Help with the siblings. Take healthy siblings to school, extra-curricular, and church events, or have them stay with you until the hospitalization ends.
8. Provide maid service. Commandeer a house cleaning crew when the hospital stay winds down.
9. Fill the fridge. Toss out any green stuff growing in the refrigerator and stock it with bread, milk, eggs and other staples.
10. Organize meals. Create a volunteer rotation to provide meals three or four times a week. Record menus to avoid duplication.

Jolene Philo lives and writes in Boone, Iowa. You can interact with her at her websites,, and Jolene is a graduate of Proverbs 31 Ministries’ She Speaks.