Support for children

If you or the person you are caring for has children or grandchildren, you may need support for them as well.

For most children and teenagers, it is best to be honest and talk to them as much as possible about what is going on. Depending on the age of the child, use language they will understand. Check they have understood by asking them to tell you what they think is happening in their own words.

Some children and teenagers behave differently, or become quiet and withdrawn when someone they know is affected by cancer. It can help to let their school know what is happening so they can get any support they need from staff at the school.

These organisations all provide support for children.

  • Macmillan Cancer Support have a booklet, Talking to children and teenagers when an adult has cancer.
  • Maggie’s Centres offer support to help you talk to children about cancer, and provide specialist services for families.
  • The Fruit Fly Collective produce a range of information and tools to help children with a parent who has cancer.
  • Teenagers may find it easier to talk to their friends or another adult outside the family or find support online. RipRap is a website for teenagers who have a parent with cancer.
  • Winston’s Wish provide information and support for children with a parent who has a serious illness, or who have been bereaved.
  • Your family member’s nurse may also be able to give you information and advice about talking to children.

Updated October 2021

Review date February 2024