‘Tis the season for flu and colds, which in turn bring on long days at home with sick kids who can't go to school. While some Circle of Moms members enjoy making stay-at-home days into opportunities to provide tons of TLC, others, including Jennifer C. and Kate C., are desperately looking for ways to distract their little charges.
Jennifer's three young sons "are getting bored and driving me crazy,” she says, and she needs ideas for an activity that "doesn’t involve outside, TV or coloring." Kate C. wants to distract her sick 3-year-old with something fun but not taxing: "I don't want her sitting on the sofa watching TV all day long. Are there any easy activities?" she wonders.
Here, Circle of Moms members share five ideas for making sick days more fun for your child, and more bearable for you.
1. Build a Fort
Several Circle of Moms member suggest making the laying around a little more adventurous by building a fort. While some use sofa cushions, Chantal G. recommends gigantic soft play blocks. As she explains. ". . . they go a long way because they can build forts when they get a bit bigger and can make many different things. Just like LEGOs, they can have hours and hours of fun that changes every day.” Erica B. gives a simpler take: create a fort by throwing a sheet or blanket over the dining room table.
2. Get Crafty
For sensory fun that often absorbs young kids for long stretches, Erica B. suggests putting dry rice in a shoe box and giving your child cups to scoop and explore, or "making homemade play-dough or goop" from cornstarch and water. (Related: Oobleck, Play-Dough and Silly Putty: Recipes for Messy, Hands-on Play.)
3. Play Quiet Games
If your kids are old enough for simple card games, Erica B. recommends Go Fish and Kristin G. suggests using the cards to improvise a game of Memory (lay the cards out in a grid and have your child try to find matching pairs by turning cards over one at a time for a few seconds). She and Cassie D. both also suggest keeping board games like CandyLand, Chutes and Ladders, and Monopoly on hand. And for a quiet activity your child can attempt without your help, Jennifer likes puzzles.
4. Call in Reinforcements
Entertaining sick kids all day can be exhausting, and when moms are tired they get cranky. Several Circle of Moms members advise asking a spouse or loved one to help out and provide them with a break. Jodi A., who juggles her job with her kids on sick days, shares that her husband always tries to come home early, either to help with neglected household tasks, or just to allow her take a nap, "if it was a rough night the night before."
5. Have a Movie Marathon
While many moms, including Jennifer C. and Kate C., don't want their sick kids to sit in front of a screen all day, others feel that if ever there was a time to indulge, it's a sick day. Breeze W. is a fan of the movie marathon for sick days; her boys have "happily" watched movies for an entire weekend when under the weather. For more ideas on keeping them entertained without losing your own mind, see 7 Ways to Make TV Time Better for Your Kids and The Best TV for Grade-Schoolers.)
How do you keep your kids busy when they're home from school?
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