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Scarlett Hilton




03 Jul 1990

  • 11534 Rank

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Published on: 08 Nov 2016 by scarlett-hilton

Keeping a sick child happy

The danger is past. The doctor says he won’t be calling any more. Time is the only further prescription he has made ... time to get completely well.

It is this recovery period that's exasperating for most parents. Consciously or unconsciously, you'll probably begin to slightly resent the inconvenience. But remember that it's a time which is even more exasperating for the child.

"It's not fair" is a child's regular and familiar complaint. What a low trick of nature to lay one low with head colds, chicken pox, measles, or a broken leg, especially when sounds from other parts of the house and sights out of the window prove conclusively that the majority of one's chums are feeling extremely well and being very active. Accept the inevitable, therefore, that your sick child, once he has emerged from the worst of his illness, will be petulant, exacting and impatient.

For a start, no toy or game can act as a substitute for constant attention and demonstrations of affection.

But obviously, you can't sit by the cot or bed all day, so you must choose any toys or games carefully - either those he already loves, or new and absorbing ones.

But remember here that the desires to construct (and destruct!) which normal healthy children have, are diminished when he or she is ill.

So while ingenuity in new toys is essential, don't make the challenge too great - simple, fit together toys, and bright picture books, alternated with old favorites at fairly frequent intervals can be very effective.

But as recovery hastens, broaden the child's chance to express himself. Try those super blocks that build into little wagons: give him plenty of paper and brightly coloured felt pens.

But often even more effective than these is using household items in unfamiliar ways - show him how to draw faces on potatoes, let him play with your button box.

Then for a really absorbing game, take a few of your husband's old sox (the brighter the colour the better) and sew buttons on for eyes. Then show him how to work them as puppets - putting his hand up into the toe, and using the thumb and forefinger to make a talking "Mouth". Teach him to make up little stories using a range of "sock characters" - with different voices.

Another absorbing interest can be a homemade jigsaw. Cut out a bright picture from a magazine, and paste it onto thin cardboard. Then cut it into simple shapes. You can judge for yourself just how simple the shapes are. Make sure they're not too hard for him to piece together - but on the other hand don't make it too easy!

Next, give him some string, and empty cotton reels. Show him how to put the string through the holes, to make simple mobiles or merely intriguing baubles.

Then again the bright coloured felt pens can be used, to put faces on cotton reels, making little animals that roll over and over.

If you can lay your hands on a lot of empty cotton reels, he can string them together to make a beautiful snake - the thinner cotton reels make the tail, with a big cotton reel for the head - he can draw on the eyes, and you can help him make a forked snake tongue from cardboard.

Of course there are many little games you can make up too. For example, a simple version of noughts and crosses using cut out cardboard shapes. Of course you'll have to play this with him.

But keeping him happy is going to take a little effort on your part and you'll probably get to feel pretty exhausted if you try and manage everything, as you did before he was confined to bed.

Just remember - it's better to let the house go for a while, and to keep up a show of brightness and happiness - no matter how tired or down you feel.

After all, no games or toys are going to make up for a little encouragement and attention on your part. But the right choice of games will really help you a lot



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