Dealing with losing a loved one is never easy, especially for children. Now Big Bend Hospice of Taylor County has new tools for its Caring Tree program, specifically designed to help children deal with losing a loved one.
It's called the Kids Count Kit.
Catherine Arnold, Community Relations Representative for Big Bend Hospice of Taylor County, said, "When there's a diagnosis of a terminal illness in a family and the child's fears and anxieties aren't addressed, we start seeing that child act out in school. Their attendance may drop off. They get in fights with their peers, or their grades just simply drop down."
The Kids Count Kit is a therapeutic way to open dialogue with kids by using stuffed animals, candy and activities such as drawing and this getting-to-know-you game:
Catherine says, "The staff sits down with the child, the spinner top. They take turns spinning. Wherever the top stops, they get to ask each other questions. It's just a good ice breaker."
Laura Cheney, a family support counselor, said, "A little six-year-old grandchild of one of my patients, on the first day I met him I took one of the dogs, stuffed animals and gave it to him. He has not put it down. He carries it with him everywhere. All the other team members have reported that he's very attached to it. He sleeps with it and carries it around."
Arnold says with the help of tools like the Kids Count Kit, children will not be forgotten during what is already a trying time for a family.
There is now a Kids Count Kit at each of the eight counties served by Big Bend Hospice.