For parents, the worst part of having a child go into the hospital for a stay is watching our babies get poked and prodded and undergo scary treatments. For our kids, however, the worst thing about being in the hospital is the boredom of sitting in a hospital bed all day!
While most pediatric hospitals have a variety of programs implemented just for our children's entertainment, there's still plenty of down time left, especially when the visit is an extended stay.
Sure, in today's world of iPads and iPhones, it seems there's an endless amount of ways to entertain kids by way of electronic devices. But if you're like me, you prefer to put a limit on the amount of time your child spends in front of a screen, even at the hospital. So today, I'm sharing a few ways to keep kids entertained during hospital stays that don't involve an electronic device.
If your child is healthy enough and has permission to get out of the room during down time, try taking them for a walk around the hospital (or children's wing). Even if they are too weak or unable to walk or stand, simply taking them for a stroll in their wheelchair is like a breath of fresh air, for both you and your child.
Depending on your child's condition and hospital rules, you may even be able to take your child outside for a quiet stroll around the hospital gardens. If it's possible, try to make a regular habit of taking your child for a walk outside their room, it will help to keep both of you from going stir-crazy.
Be sure to pack lots of books to read to your child, and if anyone wishes to bring your child a gift to the hospital, suggest they bring a new book along. Schedule times throughout the day to spend time reading to your child. It's a great way to help them escape the hospital world for a few minutes a day. Plus there's the endless amounts of that come with reading to your children.
I mentioned earlier about the different programs most hospitals have available specifically to keep patients entertained during their stay at the hospital. For kids, these programs often include craft time, sing-alongs, and general playtime with other kids in the hospital. I strongly encourage you to allow your child to participate, if they are able to do so. The programs provided avenues both to entertain your kid and give you a little break as well.
If your hospital allows (and most do, nowadays), bring your own dvd player, laptop, or portable dvd player and some of your child's favorite movies and box of bagged popcorn from home. After last rounds each night, pop in a movie and share a bag popcorn before bedtime.
Try to schedule your walks, reading, and movie times around the same time each day. Keeping a routine gives your child things to look forward to throughout each day, especially on difficult days.
Does your child use a "sleep system" at night?