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.