Tips for kids with kidney disease and their parents

Having kidney disease can be hard for you and your parents, especially if your doctor is not sure what is causing it. Consider these ways to take care of yourselves and learn more about kidney disease.

Take time out for fun 

Make time for fun! With your parents, do something each week that has nothing to do with medicine or doctors, like:  

  • Video chat with friends or family  
  • Go to a park near your house 
  • Have a family movie night or game night  
  • Try a new video game 
  • Go online to learn about a new hobby or something you want to collect, such as game cards  

Accept help, and ask for help when you need it 

Getting help from others can give you and your parents more time to have fun and to do the other things you need to do, such as schoolwork or work. 

  • Consider making a list of things people can do to help, such as: 
    • Rides for you, your brothers or sisters to and from school or activities 
    • Homework help 
    • Grocery shopping 
    • Running errands 
    • Taking you somewhere fun, like mini-golf 
  • Your parents can reach out to others for help when they need it–most people are glad to help when asked 

Parents, take care of your own health 

When parents take time to care for themselves, it helps everyone in the family. To help stay healthy, parents can: 

  • Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night 
  • Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner each day and include healthy foods such as fruit, vegetables, yogurt, nuts and lean meats like fish and chicken 
  • Be active for at least 15 minutes a day, such as going for a walk, stretching or raking leaves 
  • Go to their own doctor, including their yearly wellness checkup 

Connect with others 

Talking with others going through the same thing is a good reminder that you are not alone. You and your parents can reach out to others to share feelings, make friends and learn how to cope with your kidney disease.  

Your parents can connect you with a: 

  • Family member, other than your parents, who you trust and feel close to 
  • Counselor, such as at your school or someone your doctor suggests 
  • Spiritual leader such as the pastor, priest, rabbi or imam–if your family attends services at a church, temple or mosque 

Your parents can talk with the people listed above, and check out these online support groups: 

  • Nephkids online support group 
  • Kidney support groups by state–American Association of Kidney Patients  
  • Ask the social worker at your hospital for a list of other support groups 

Learn about kidney disease and resources for kids and families 

Knowing more about your kidney disease can help you feel more in control of what is happening in your body and your treatments. With your parents, check out this information on kidney disease.