No one knows your child better than you do. You are the expert in those tiny toes and sleepy eyes. You have watched them day in and day out. You know just the right bedtime song, the location of every birthmark, and the meaning of every mumble. That knowledge is unique and powerful. A child’s healthcare team simply cannot be effective without you, and a strong family centered healthcare provider will recognize that. Healthcare can be intimidating. It is full of medical jargon, complicated science, and huge leaps of faith. You are trusting strangers to care for your most prized possession. It’s easy to get buried in it all. But you were made to be your child’s advocate and that role is just as important as any doctor’s. Many have asked me what they can do to be a better advocate for their child. The simplest answer is, trust your gut and speak up. If something feels wrong-it’s wrong. If your child looks “off” to you-say something. Ask questions, be honest, and make suggestions. Feel empowered! Your opinion matters. No question is silly. You are making decisions for someone else and you need to be confident in making them. If that means asking the same question three times, sobeit. At the end of the day, these decisions impact the well-being of your child, your family, and yourself. That is far more significant than that made to the rest of the healthcare team. A strong provider will always ask “what do you think” and a strong advocate will always have an answer. You can do this!

A few quick, easy ways to own your role as your child’s advocate:

-Create a separate journal or binder to organize paperwork, questions, results, etc. You can even find free, printable templates online!

-Be BOLD! Don’t hold back a question-it will only make you less confident in decisions moving forward. 

-Trust your gut. If it feels wrong, SPEAK UP! And if your concerns aren’t addressed, there is always someone else to relay them to. 

-Approach decisions as a team. Each role carries its own weight. Remember, you are all in this together with the best interest of your child at heart.

-Check out your state’s child advocacy program. You can find great resources, support, and programs local to your area. 

-Know how to research properly. There is a lot of information out there and it can be easy to get wrapped up in non credible sources.,are%20accurate%20sources%20of%20information.

-Have open, honest, and developmentally appropriate conversations with your child. They deserve a say and they never ask questions they aren’t ready to hear the answers to.

**Children’s Hospital Association Family Advocacy days are June 20-22, 2023. Check out the website below to see how you can help make an impact in pediatric care on a legislative level**

What are some ways you advocate for your child? Tell us in the comments!