Family Hope Tree
Kids Can Cope - For Parents
Cancer has often been explained as a roller coaster of strong emotions- diagnosis, treatment decisions, side effects and complications, positive or negative test results.
Your kids feel this turmoil too, but have even less control over it than you do. One way to help them to cope is to teach them the value of HOPE; hope that life will eventually get back to normal or that you will all be able to deal with whatever life brings.
Hope is a wonderful coping tool to get through adversity. It keeps us moving forward and prevents us from falling into despair. Nurture your children's' sense of hope with this fun activity.
- Get a roll of kraft paper at a discount or craft store and some construction paper in "leafy" colors (i.e. green, red, orange, and yellow). You will also need markers or crayons.
- Find an area of empty wall in you home, or perhaps a door. Cut 2 lengths of craft paper about 4 or 5 feet long. Tape them together along the long edge to form one piece of paper about 3 feet wide and 4 or 5 feet long. (Exact dimensions aren't important.)
- Have your kids draw a large tree without leaves on the paper. They can add grass, flowers, birds, or whatever they want on it. The tree should have lots of branches and mostly fill up the paper.
- Tape it on the wall or door securely. This is your family hope tree.
- Have the kids cut leaves out from various colors of construction paper. They should be about the size of your hand. You can make a cardboard template to make this job easier. They can then trace and cut out the shapes. Make up a good supply of these leaves and keep them in a bag.
- Once a week have every family member take a leaf and write down something he or she hopes for in the coming week. The sentence should start out with "I hope that…" Each leaf should be signed by the person who wrote it.
"I hope that mom doesn't get sick from chemo."
"I hope I get to go over to _____'s house."
"I hope I get that report finished."
"I hope my blood work is good this week."
- Each week you will add new leaves and see your family's hopes grow. Take time to talk about old hopes that came true and those that didn't. Help your kids mourn the small losses and celebrate the victories. You'll be teaching them important life skills as your tree comes to life.