5 Ways to Support a Family of a Hospitalized Child


Over the summer, my three year old was hospitalized with pneumonia and admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit. With all the COVID restrictions in place, only certain people were allowed to visit and come in and out of the hospital.

The policy made it difficult because for the majority of the day it was just my son and I. It was not only lonely but also sad and scary. My mind started traveling to a very dark place. Thankfully we were able to FaceTime family and friends. I would walk downstairs and grab a coffee.

It made me think: It is so unfortunate how common it is for little ones to be staying in hospitals. Between RSV, COVID, or anything health related, there are many reasons your friends or family may end up in the hospital and staying for several days or even weeks. It is usually unexpected, and there are many ways to ease the burden. Whether a child is hospitalized for a day or several weeks, it can be jarring to a family.

Here are ways to support a family who has a hospitalized child:

Child in hospital

1. Make phone calls or do FaceTime. We called and FaceTimed with my son’s friends and my friends. It helped pass the time. It not only cheered him up, but also helped me, too. Because of specific restrictions at our hospital, only certain people were allowed in the hospital, so an in-person meeting is out of the question. A 15-minute phone call helped our spirits a bit. From personal experience it was draining mentally and emotionally and it was something so small that helped put a smile on our face.

Door Dash Delivery

2. Give gift cards for GrubHub, Favor, or any food delivery. Our specific hospital has Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, and a full cafeteria. We were even offered room service for our late-night cravings. But to make it more “normal,” it was nice to have a meal that I really enjoyed. We were there for five nights and six days, so I would order dinner almost every night. You can even offer to send a Favor there and order your friend dinner. It’s something that would really cheer them up especially when they are missing out on dinner time with their own family at their home.

3. If restrictions allow, take time to visit in person. If you are not limited to visitors, it would be nice to visit and let your friend take a shower or take a walk outside. We were in our room for the entire day and night, so even walking outside to get fresh air or walking downstairs to the cafeteria was a treat. If you had are able to go sit with them depending on the circumstances that would be helpful.

4.  Offer to babysit or bring dinner if they have other children or family at home. I know my babysitters were just as rundown as I was because they were sleeping over and taking care of my other children. It would mean a lot for a friend to come over and bring dinner or pitch in for a few hours just to help get through the day. 

5. Drop off or send a fun gift basket to the hospital. There’s only so many things that we are able to do during the day. It would be so sweet to send a gift basket with maybe some toys, colors, blocks, and little crafts, and anything else age appropriate that helps pass the time.

Hospital stay

We were grateful that so many people reached out and offered everything from coffee to dinner and everything in between. A hospital stay is never fun, so it is always much appreciated to have someone to reach out and offer something to brighten your day. 


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