The importance of family union during sickness is undeniable. When a family member is sick, particularly a child, the rest of the family needs to work and focus on the child’s physical health and mental wellness.  

During sickness, many questions haunt the patient’s mind. How did I get sick? Why now? When would I recover? Why are others totally fine while I am sick for so long? During extended treatment periods, the family plays an essential role in sustaining their relative and caring for his needs and expectations.

Family and emotional support                                 

Family love brings cohesion and a sense of belonging. If the patients are children, they will feel supported and eased thanks to a sense of predictability which will calm their anxiety. They know their family will be there the next day for another battle.

If children suffer from a complex battling illness like cancer, this unconditional love must be cultivated and nourished daily. Of course, there will always be difficulties, and some days might look longer than others, but eventually, if you keep fighting, every challenge turns into a victory.

How can I cultivate love to improve the bond among family members, particularly children undergoing such significant trials?  Here are some ways you can nurture your family love:


  • Listen to your children’s desires, hopes, and wishes.
    • Spend some time talking about their dreams. They might keep some thoughts for them, which is fine, but ask them to tell you about their ideas and plans. Children still don’t have all the tools in their vocabulary to clearly express their feelings, and in some cases, they might think it is hard and consider that nobody understands them, so be patient.
  • Do not expect your children to change their mood.
    • Your children must acknowledge their feelings if they suffer from a disease like cancer. Sometimes, they would like to express their impotence and be angry before they calm down and regain confidence. Avoid trying to force them to feel happy all the time. Instead, give them time and space to express all their feelings.
  • Express your love generously.
    • When they achieve a milestone in their treatment, be very visual. Children need to feel they are being recognized, particularly after difficult times. Remember that the children who might express they do not like an emotional display of happiness usually need it most. Some kids are introverted and want something more personal and private but still want to feel recognized.  A gift would always be well received.


Preparing children for the future

Enjoying family love is essential to shape the human brain and guaranteeing its better function over the years. Adults who have received affection during demanding situations in their childhood have a better chance of recovering from depression, anxiety, and mental health problems.


Dysfunctional family?

No two families are the same; there are families where a father, mother, and maybe even both are absent. However, not only the unions made from bloodlines are families, but also the ones where love has transcended links and losses.

On the other hand, if there is a complex family history where love was not the center, individual and family therapy is available. Often, facing and coping with the past is the best way to heal in the present and secure a better future for all the family members.

Love must always be the center of any union, a love that does not look for pride, self-benefit, or self-satisfaction but only for the well-being of the other.


By Eduardo Guillen

Have you ever wondered how important play is during childhood? You probably forgot now that you are an adult, but playtime is essential for developing social, physical, and emotional skills.

Yes, for children, play is natural and sometimes can get crazy with household items getting damaged and angry neighbors complaining about noises.

Regardless, children’s play is unlike any other game. It requires surveillance and efficient time to help them develop cognitive abilities while learning lessons about rules, order, and camaraderie, especially how to win and lose.

Play to Learn, Learn to Play

However, nowadays, play is affected by a hurried lifestyle and rigorous demand for academic achievements at an early age.

According to a publication by the American Academy of Pediatrics, being a slave of the clock, among other factors such as changes in family structure, affect children’s education and represents a barrier to healthy brain development.  

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Furthermore, having a fair amount of daily play reduces anxiety, increases the personal satisfaction, and promotes healthy family time, besides developing dexterity to execute physical tasks.

As mentioned by Daniel Marston in an article for Psychology Today, children benefit from play activities. They are essential for communicating and acting effectively in the future because they allow kids to learn new abilities.  

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How to Play with Books

Children can also play with books.

Play is not limited to physical but also mental activities such as literacy. How?

Let the children explore the books by touching them, pointing and drawing on them, expressing the characters’ feelings, and playing the roles of the protagonists as an actor would do in a play (No pun intended).

Children will naturally ask what does it say here? And here? Children are curious, so showing them colorful books will stimulate their imaginations. As an adult, you can guide them and clarify what they see in the book.

As well, Friends of Rick Daniels provides opportunities for a playful time through books such as ‘My Name is Ji’ a book about leaving the zoo to find some friends to play with; ‘And Albert the Skunk, about a skunk who wins recognition and love in the forest; and ‘Ike and Mike go, Bowling,’ a fun story about two friends who learn about counting pins while playing.

Consequently, children will learn to play characters and roleplay as the characters of a story. Some might even become a narrator and read the story to another child or adult. Children will try to show you that they understand the story and will seek your approval to confirm that they did a great job.

Older children might create alternative versions of the tale or story they are reading. They also will be aware of more complex images and ideas, such as symbols and signs. They will become aware of the character’s needs and how his journey contributes to his personality.

As we see, play is important and can be performed differently. However, it is essential that the kids have a great time with that activity, feel free to engage with others, and are willing to accept the outcome, whether winning or losing.

By Eduardo Guillen

children, art and illustrations

Children love to express their feelings and display their imagination through art activities and illustrations. Tales are a fantastic source for children to start their relationship with art and to find illustrations that help them to navigate through an adventure’s content and characters. But how important are art and illustrations to child development?

Let’s talk about solving problems with art!

When children face a blank canvas, they must make several decisions, such as adding lines, color, and volume. Plus, children confront the challenge of outlining each part of their project. For instance, when drawing a park, they must consider how to draw the ground, sky, along with some other objects while projecting an interlinked idea of events and emotions.

In every art project, children will need to assert what is the object of their interest and how this subject interacts with its surroundings. While accomplishing a simple task such as drawing a three, children will begin to face doubts and make decisions to discern distance, perspective, space, and harmony.

colorful girl
little girl covered in colorful paint

Several studies have addressed the importance of color in children’s development. In the article ‘Children’s Emotional Associations with Colors’ by Boyatzis & Varghese (1994)’, scientists found a correlation between positive and negative emotions when children use specific colors. In this study, measures such as brightness show different reactions.  

In this regard, illustrations show kids how simple strokes can shape animals, humans, insects, and objects. A mix that includes children, art, and illustrations can turn into a fantastic way to educate and conceive new ideas.

Illustrations also help children to differentiate clear geometrical shapes, count sides and corners, and reveal the importance of few but decisive details to convey emotions, which might result hard for children when using only words.

Children hand-Eye coordination

Doing a new art project involves the proper handling of tools. Children will exercise their motor skills by taking care of the canvas and art materials.

They will have to resort to patience to draw straight lines, use sharp instruments like scissors, and be mindful of how particular tones or combinations of colors can create distinctive visual effects.

Children’s hands will be prepared to write and follow more delicate and patient tasks. According to Renee Phillips, Director of Manhattan Arts International, art also reduces stress, heals emotional burdens from trauma and loss, and makes individuals appreciate other people’s expressions and individuality.

Therefore, activity sheets are an effective way to assist children with their development. These sheets will offer a fun challenge to solve. Children will have to review their previous readings to find out clues within the illustrations to complete the tasks at hand.

Kids might see the world with different eyes. They still understand how machines and social patterns work while filling the gaps with imagination and personal thoughts. Kids’ brains make new connections in this stage by adding colors, signs, sounds, and more.

Engaging in art projects and having contact with illustrations will increase their creativity and bring new questions, which means new vocabulary, improving their awareness, and giving them more alternatives to describe their experiences.

Furthermore, books for children that include illustrations bring a myriad of new fun concepts for children, portraying a mix of space, time, and wild colors that stimulates their visual skills; and if these are included in an adventure, they can deliver more enjoyment and lead children to make associations with characters, their personalities, and motives.

By Eduardo Guillen

Cancer is a disease that makes victims and their families rethink their priorities. In this scenario, thinking about the future always comes with anxiety because a patient needs to focus on the present and the fight they are facing.

After treatment, many survivors continue with their lives and return to mid and long-term activities such as studying, saving money, investing time in a relationship, and looking for new developmental opportunities. In contrast, others prefer to concentrate on the day-to-day and choose short-term endeavors because of their fear of relapse.

An excellent way to deal with anxiety about the future and obtain more confidence to make long-term plans is by joining support groups and counseling where the survivor can meet with people who have similar stories and experiences.

Also, the survivor can perform activities such as exercising, art, playing video games, and reading books to help tremendously with their mental recovery. Literature is well known to open doors to new worlds and have experiences that anyone can relive countless times.

Each patient chooses a different path

However, how patients deal with cancer during and after their treatment is something that they need to determine themselves, and the family needs to respect that. This doesn’t mean the patient’s decisions cannot change and eventually turn into long-term plans, but it is a process that might take time.

As many people have experienced, cancer is a family illness, not an individual one. For this reason, a patient needs to feel that their family supports their view of the world and the approach they have towards it. Many different feelings can go through the mind of a cancer patient, and the family might discover itself changing their view altogether.

If these feelings are not addressed the consequences might affect cancer patients and eventually compromise their general health condition.

Combating anxiety for the future must be faced in the right way

It is also essential the patient has proper tools for managing their emotions. Due to psychological stress, it is crucial to avoid harmful ideas and negative thoughts that might complicate the cancer treatment. A healthy activity to cope with those ideas is to keep a journal of daily thoughts, create stories, or perhaps even create a fictional character a patient can use to channel their feelings.

Some patients find calm when sharing their thoughts with other patients or people who have cancer and have taken new steps in their life.

For example, the talented SNL actress Vanessa Bayer, who had lymphoblastic leukemia when she was 15 years old, mentioned that her illness inspired her love for comedy, making her take steps toward that direction, turning this personal therapy into a career years later.

Afraid of Knowing

Former patients of cancer might also feel anxiety because of a fear of relapse. If these feelings are not addressed, the consequences might affect their lives and eventually compromise their general health condition.

The best option is to visit a therapist (psychologist) because many patients are reluctant to share their thoughts with their family and close friends. The therapist will also help them deal with excessive concerns about their health. We can reduce anxiety effectively if we trust professional help and let negative thoughts disappear.

Remember, fear is of no use if it is not to be overcome. There are plenty of alternatives and resources that can help patients and survivors of cancer to live a life without anxiety and instead choose openness to the future.

By Eduardo Guillen