For most children and teenagers, it’s best to be honest and explain to them what’s going on. You may feel you want to protect them, but even very young children often sense when something is wrong. They may get more worried if they are not told what is happening.
Use language a child will understand. Check they have understood by asking them to tell you what is happening in their own words. Be prepared to answer their questions and be honest if you don’t know the answer. You may worry about getting upset in front of children, but this can help them understand that it’s okay for them to be upset too. Don’t worry if they listen to what you tell them but don’t seem to react. This is normal and doesn’t mean they haven’t understood.
Some children and teenagers behave differently, or become quiet and withdrawn when someone they know is affected by cancer.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. Students can talk to their college or university, who can provide support and help with their workload.