How to Plan Activities for Children


Children pose a special problem. When they are very ill they are not interested in much except perhaps a favourite toy to cuddle or a story. But as soon as a child begins to feel better he is easily bored and needs constant attention. Keeping him occupied becomes difficult, particularly if he is not well enough to play with brothers and sisters or friends.

A convalescent child confined to bed will not stay quiet beneath the bedclothes. Because his movements in and on the bed will disturb the bedclothes, he will stay much warmer if he is dressed.

If you are buying toys, give the child one or two small ones every day rather than a big toy expected to engross him for the length of his illness. This way every day will bring him something new and relieve the monotony – especially important in sickness when you cannot expect the child to concentrate for long.

If you are giving the child puzzles or games, start with an easy one and progress to something more suited to his age as he gets better: a sick child is likely to give up in frustration and misery if he cannot do a puzzle, whereas the same child when well would have the determination to carry on trying until he is successful. Lego and jigsaw puzzles are very popular with sick children.

Small doses of radio and television may be relaxing for a child confined to bed. Make sure that you are at hand to turn the set on or off and to change channels if the child is not allowed out of bed.

Drawing and painting are much enjoyed by ill or convalescent children. Even quite small children can be successfully occupied for long periods in colouring picture books. If you are encouraging messy activities, do make sure that both the child and the bed are protected: an old sheet is very useful for this. If the child is painting put all his equipment on a tray and give him a non-spill paint pot, or a pot with very little water.

Try to make a game out of nursing care and tell stories while you are bathing the child or carrying out any treatments. Above all, remember that ill children need even more love and attention than usual. Take time to give the child a special cuddle, especially at the end of the day when he may be restless, hot and tired. Sit him on your knee to read a story: this is one of the best ways to soothe a restless child to sleep.

If the child’s illness or convalescence is going to be prolonged, the parent or volunteer can seek outside help with recreational activities. Youth organizations such as the Girl Guides and the Boy Scouts may run activities for the housebound, and the Red Cross Juniors and the St John Cadets will visit to play games with the child. Encourage the child to participate in competitions run for children by television programmes such as “Blue Peter”. Finally, in cases where the child will be housebound over a very long period, a peripatetic teacher may be necessary.

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About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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