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Supporting siblings of a child with a neurological condition

Spending time with your children

Try to make sure that siblings have some time where they get your full attention and get to spend time with you 1:1.

It can be hard to find time for this when life is hectic, but even a small amount of time is valuable. Taking time to notice and acknowledge siblings can also help them to feel that they are getting a share of your attention, for example commenting when they have worked hard at something or been helpful.

Try to spend some time having fun as a family, and find ways your children can spend enjoyable time together. It does not need to be anything special, it could just be watching a film together or playing a game. Siblings might need some advice on how they can play in a way which suits the needs of their brother or sister with neurological condition.

Try to take action on any difficulties that are impacting on siblings’ wellbeing or education, for example being kept awake at night.

When things feel unfair

Siblings may feel frustrated or feel that things are unfair.

For example, they may feel that their brother or sister does not get told off as often or gets more attention. Let them know that it is okay to talk to you if they feel upset or annoyed about anything. It is important to listen when they share these things with you and acknowledge their feelings.

Being honest

Be open and honest with your child about their sibling’s neurological condition.

The way you explain this will depend on the age of your child. You can revisit the subject as your child’s level of understanding increases, or as different issues arise. These discussions can happen informally as part of everyday life.

They are not alone

Children may find it helpful to hear about the experiences of other children who have a sibling with additional needs , to show them that their feelings are normal and others feel the same. The Sibs is a good resource for this.

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: PSY24

Resource Type: Article

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