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10 Ways to Entertain a Sick Child

The following article is a guest post by Tracey, a wife and mother to two girls who enjoys reading, writing and spending time with her family. You can find her blogging about topics related to families and parenting at Girls To Grow.

This week I have been dealing with a sick child. Thankfully it’s nothing serious, but it is enough to keep her from being up and about doing her normal activities. I have been chief nurse, entertainment director, snack “bringer” and comfort giver. Times like this cause me to rack my brain for ways to keep my kids entertained while they are temporarily relegated to the couch or bed. Here is a list of ten ideas that are working for us.

10 Ways to Entertain a Sick Child

1. Reading books. Since my children are a little older, they can read books to themselves. But somehow, when they’re ill, they seem to enjoy my reading to them. We already have a normal bedtime routine in place where I read aloud to each girl from a certain book.

When they’re sick, I’ll often read a couple of extra chapters from those special books in the middle of the day, which they think is a treat. Reading through a book of jokes might be a change of pace; your child could even memorize a couple to try out on their friends when they get well.

2. Videos/DVDs. What helps me with this one is that my girls are normally very limited in the amount of time they are allowed to spend watching movies. Therefore, when they are sick, they think it is a real treat to be allowed one (or two!) movies a day. This is a good time to pull out a new one if you have it in hiding or ask someone to stop and pick up a fresh supply from the library or video store.

3. Games. This is a great time to pull out board games or card games that the two of you can sit and play together. While we attempt to do this as a regular activity at our house, it’s a pastime that sometimes gets forgotten. Pulling a small table up to the side of the couch or bed also makes a perfect place to do a puzzle together.

4. Art. Coloring books are great for younger children, maybe to be used with special markers or stickers. Older children may enjoy word search books or crossword puzzles. Again, doing them together makes it more fun.

5. CDs. We like listening to little stories on CDs; cheerful music CDs are fun as well. Trying out a variety of books on tape, with just the audio or with the read-along books, can help pass the time.

6. Small magnetic toys. We have several sets of magnetic paper dolls that can be dressed up and played with as a quiet activity. Other small magnetic toys or letter sets could be put on a large cookie sheet and placed on your child’s lap. MagnaDoodles are another toy my girls enjoy during these times.

7. Simple Crafts. I would choose neat and easy things to do, maybe stringing beads to make necklaces or easy cut and paste activities.

8. Handheld games. While some of these may already be played on a regular basis, if you have some that have been relegated to the bottom of a drawer, now may be the time to pull them out.

9. Making up stories. Here’s a chance to put your imagination to work! Talk with your child and together you can make up a story, maybe even using your sick child as the hero/heroine. As you go through the story, you could write it down for them to keep and read later on.

10. Cuddling. While my girls are still young enough to give cuddles here and there during a normal day, they’re willing to spend a lot more time just letting me hold them or wrap my arms around them when they’re not feeling well.

I have discovered that when my child is sick, what she wants most is me. There have been several times this week that I have purposely postponed what I was planning to do so that I could go sit on the couch and spend some time with my daughter. While having a sick child can be unpleasant, it can also be a chance to take a break from the routine and spend some special time together.

For more Works for Me Wednesday, visit We are That Family. Sick child photo by Spigoo.


  1. Liz
    Mar 24, 2009 @ 22:25:44

    I like the reading aloud idea, thanks for sharing them all.


  2. Pamela
    Mar 25, 2009 @ 04:16:31

    great post, these are all great ideas to help take there minds of not feeling well or the pain they have after a surery, when my son had his tonsils out at 10 I stopped and got the newest Star Wars Series on DVD 3 movies we snuggled on our large couch in the basement and watched them together, it really helped him forget about the pain and it was great to get to spend that one on one time with him, thanks for sharing all these great ideas


  3. 10 Ways to Entertain a Sick Child | Homemaker Barbi | PuzzleInn.Com
    Mar 25, 2009 @ 05:47:23

    [...] The rest is here: 10 Ways to Entertain a Sick Child | Homemaker Barbi [...]


  4. Sara
    Mar 25, 2009 @ 08:59:42

    All great ideas!


  5. Ruth Saves $
    Mar 25, 2009 @ 11:47:46

    Terrific ideas! Thank you so much for sharing.


  6. mub
    Mar 25, 2009 @ 12:14:17

    These sound like good tips for grown ups too ;)


  7. 10 Ways to Entertain a Sick Child | Homemaker Barbi | TechnologyAids.Com
    Mar 25, 2009 @ 21:53:52

    [...] Read more:  10 Ways to Entertain a Sick Child | Homemaker Barbi [...]


  8. Kara-Noel
    Mar 26, 2009 @ 07:29:11

    Stickers are awesome!
    And if there is a fever we do a bubble bath swim party! They get to wear their bathing suits in the bath and we blow bubbles and I may bring in a special bath toy (aka tuperware).


  9. Jenna @ Newlyweds
    Mar 26, 2009 @ 09:13:20

    I love cuddling the best, seems its the only time they want to cuddle anymore.


  10. Johanna B
    Mar 27, 2009 @ 08:51:30

    My daughter is 21 and she still wants me around when she is sick. I am amazed and pleased.


  11. John
    Apr 03, 2009 @ 19:29:20

    Thanks for submitting your post to my carnival! I enjoyed it so much I selected as an “editor’s choice.” Thanks for the great ideas.


  12. Home Ever After
    Apr 05, 2009 @ 08:25:26

    @John- Thank you so much for editor’s choice! I’ll be sure to let Tracey, the guest poster who wrote that article, know the link so she can share it with her readers as well.



  13. Tweets that mention 10 Ways to Entertain a Sick Child - Home Ever After --
    Dec 30, 2010 @ 17:44:44

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