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Kids may need help to conceptualize what cancer is and what it does in the body. It can be useful to explain to them how someone with cancer may feel quite sick, and how special cancer doctors, oncologists, work hard to help those with cancer get better.


Plan it out – create simple scripts you can practice about what you want to say and how you want to say it.

Keep it simple – give kids small amounts of information at a time. Repeat regularly.

  • Give kids time to digest the information.
  • Encourage questions – kids can be curious.
  • Permission to play – kids need to play while they think about and process something new.
  • Different feelings are normal and ok – fear, sadness, anger and happiness may follow this news about Mom’s breast cancer.


  • Be the best listener you can be.
  • Take time to think about this news. Ask for breaks if you need it.
  • Ask questions.
  • It’s ok and normal to feel a bunch of different feelings.
  • Find ways to “play-it-out” doing activities and games you like and that help you feel good.

HELPS is a cool tool for kids to check on YOU, how you are feeling and if you need information, hugs or support.

H – How am I feeling? Have I shared my feelings with anyone?

E – Explain – do I need more information about Mom’s cancer? Do I need information repeated?

L – Love – do I need a hug from someone I love?

P – Play – did I play today? Am I able to find time and enjoy my favorite activities and games?

S – Support – Do I need support? Do I have someone I can talk to?

Find someone you trust and feel comfortable talking to. This could include a parent, a family member, a friend, a teacher, a coach, a doctor, a nurse, a social worker, a child life specialist or counsellor.

Websites and games for Kids about Breast Cancer or Cancer in general:

Kids Health – includes information about breast cancer in child-focused language

ReMission 2 by Hopelab – includes 6 interactive video games for kids to “fight” cancer using Chemotherapy, Radiation and other treatments.

*Also available in the APP STORE as Nanobots Revenge

Read the next blog, Operation Rescue

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Morgan Livingstone is a Certified Child Life Specialist who offers home support to families going through cancer. To get in touch or find out more info contact or Tweet @ChildLifeMorgan