Sometimes kids get sick. And sometimes they are so sick, they stay in the hospital for a bit. It is boring. You can only watch so much TV, even at 5 years old. If your child has frequent trips to the hospital or has one looming in the near future, there are plenty of ways to keep her from getting bored.
Kids can play video games just as often and long as they can watch television. From Nintendo DS to the Wii and iPad, there are endless options to keep your child busy, especially if video games are rare at home. If you don't have a video game system to bring to the hospital, ask a friend or family member if you can borrow theirs for the stay.
Lots of moms swear by Legos while in the hospital. It gives kids something creative to do that can last for hours. Plus, it's something you can do together.
3. Arts and Crafts
Hospital stays are the perfect opportunity to let your child express herself through arts and crafts. From coloring books (or coloring pages printed from the internet) to painting and window markers, there are tons of ways to have creative fun.
Mom Kristina Beagle says that her kids love their picture binder. She prints out pictures of family members, friends, maybe even the doctor on full pages which she puts in protector sleeves in a binder. The kids use dry erase markers to draw mustaches, glasses, and more on everyone's faces.
Donna Fant is the mom of two children, one of whom has cystic fibrosis and spends long amounts of time in the hospital at each visit. She says another great idea is to "draw with sharpie markers on clear contact paper and make decals for the windows, cabinets, etc. Cut a piece of contact paper, tape it to the tray or other hard surface, draw on it, then peel off the backing and stick them wherever. Peels right off. No mess."
4. Get Out
If your child is able to leave her hospital room, make sure she gets out at least once a day to help with cabin fever. She can walk the halls or check out the playroom. Be sure to get approval from her doctor first, though.
Kids love to read. Books and magazines can help the hours go by faster. And if she has homework, she can, of course, pull that out too.
6. Board Games
This is the perfect way to spend time with visitors and keep the fun going in the hospital. There are so many options and each trip to the hospital can include a brand new game to learn. You can also try card games.
7. Sticker Books
Younger children love stickers. Give them a roll and a sticker book and they can go for hours just peeling and sticking. There are even sticker books with reusable stickers for kids to create scenes and tell stories with.
8. Camp Out
Kristen Strzynski has a 4-year-old son who has 3-5 visits in the hospital every year. She brings a pop-up tent for her his hospital bed, plus a flashlight and glow bracelets. Turning the hospital room into a campout rather than a boring room is a great way to make your child feel more comfortable while taking away some cabin fever.
Hospital rooms are boring. Alison Hoenie-Gray and her 7-year-old son pick a theme and decorate the entire room while in the hospital. They use a ton of construction paper, paint, and other items to make the room more fun. Strzynski also recommends using Christmas lights to brighten things up.
10. I Spy
Look out your hospital window for an I Spy scavenger hunt, advises mom Tracy Hawkins.
11. Dance Party
If your child can get up and moving, turn on some music and dance. It's great exercise when you're trapped in a room.
Nothing perks a kid up more than frequent visitors. Friends and family members alike can put a smile on a sick child's face. If your child can't have visitors, or family members live far, you can use Skype to help her connect with everyone, including her pets.
When all else fails, don't forget to ask the hospital for the Child Life Specialists. Child Life is a great group of people whose priority is to make children smile. They can bring games and crafts to your child and even hang out and play. Not only will your child have someone new to play with, this will give you a much needed break too.