What is sibling support?

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Sibling support refers to support given to brothers and sisters of seriously ill children.

It might be spending time playing, talking or going to the park with a Rainbow Trust Family Support Worker, or going along to a group to meet other children in the same situation.

Brothers’ and sisters’ needs for support will be fluid and will change at different points:

  • Some will have known no other experience of family life
  • Some may not need in depth support. Perhaps the sick child is in a stable phase of illness, or there are existing strong family support networks
  • Other children may have a sibling who suddenly becomes ill. For them, their world may be turned upside down in a matter of days
  • The brothers and sisters of seriously ill babies may be unable to meet their baby when they are in intensive care for some months
  • A child’s age and development can affect the kind of help they need.

Sibling support can play a vital preventative role, helping children and young people to learn coping mechanisms, find an outlet for their strong feelings and worries, keep up with their school work, and build a support network for themselves outside the home – as well as having some much needed fun.

For more information, read our report ‘See Us, Hear Us’ Notice Us: The case for supporting siblings of seriously ill children’.

To find out whether your child could receive sibling support from Rainbow Trust, see where we support.