MUSKOGEE — Having kids home sick from school or day care may not be something parents or other caregivers relish, but educators say departure from routine can provide unique opportunities to bond and spend quality time together doing things that a hectic lifestyle might not allow.
Instead of parking sick youngsters in front of the television watching “Sponge Bob Square Pants,” RealSimple.com suggests trying some activities to get through the illness, perhaps helping them forget how bad they feel while giving caregivers an opportunity for quality time together.
For example, the site suggests taking a stroll down memory lane by pulling out the child’s baby book or family photo albums and leafing through them together.
“Children rarely tire of remembering vacations or hearing about the day they were born — and thinking about the good times can distract them from their sore throat or crummy tummy,” RealSimple.com said.
Once a sick youngster is feeling well enough to get up and move around, try creating a secret hideout, the site said.
“Forts or special nooks are cozy places for kids to pass the time while they’re recovering,” said RealSimple.com. “Drape blankets over chairs or create a tent in a corner. Fill the space with a sleeping bag, pillows, favorite stuffed animals, a child-safe camping lamp or flashlight and some books or toys.”
Why not play hospital to let youngsters play nurse or doctor with a doll or animal, the site suggested.
For sick young ones not up to playing or moving around, RealSimple.com recommends closing your eyes and their eyes and listening.
“If your child isn’t up for much activity, try listening to audio books,” the site said. “Pick a favorite story and hear it in a new way, or find the latest book everyone’s talking about at school and settle in. If stories aren’t your thing, try lullabies.”
Sure, it’s tempting to stay in bed all day, but so long as your child is comfortable and not running a fever, a short walk can do wonders to clear out a cough and get the blood flowing.
Author R. Morgan Griffin on webmd.com said while rest may be the best way for sick kids to recuperate, there are many activities which do not require too much exertion, which can aid in recovery while allowing family bonding.
“You’ll help your child get better while you spend some quality time together,” Griffin said. “Get out some card games, flash cards, board games, and puzzles. Just keep in mind that kids who aren’t feeling good have a low threshold for frustration.”
Dr. Lisa M. Asta, a pediatrician in Walnut Creek, California, recommends choosing games that make caregiver and sick offsprings work together over ones that pit you against each other. Or, do some simple crafts with whatever you have around the house — decorate an empty tissue box or paper towel roll.
“Don’t worry if you’re not super-crafty,” Asta said. “The point is the process, not the end product. If your sick child can’t come to the table, set up a folding tray on the bed or couch.”
Webmd.com also recommends using a home computer or smartphone to call up a grandparent or other relative using Skype or another service. Seeing a friendly but faraway face could cheer up your child — and give you a few minutes to yourself.