Dear K-A Mothers,
My child has to be hospitalized for an unknown amount of time. Beyond what the hospital told us to pack — clothes, towels, nappies/diapers, cleaning stuff, etc. — I’m wondering what we need.
—Sad Mummy, Sick Child
It’s never fun spending time at the hospital, and even worse when your child is the patient. It can be boring, scary, overwhelming, intimidating and oh-so-many other things for a little person, especially when they have to stay by themselves. Of course, it can also be fun once they start to get better—I remember being thrilled as I recovered from whooping cough at age 3 when the nurses gave me Orange Crush, a drink my mother would never have dreamed of giving me. But to get through the initial stages, it’s necessary to be well prepared.
For K-A mothers, boredom was the big dragon that needed slaying. Day in and day out sitting in a hospital bed would drive an adult crazy—just imagine how hard it must be for children who are programmed to run everywhere and spend most of the day suffering from the wiggles.
Sonya Etchison / 123rf
Activity pack to the rescue! K.K. suggested colouring pages and crayons, and small puzzles, while H.E. suggested a trip to the ¥100 shop to stock up on little toys and easy craft items. L.A. had success with sticker books, but found they can be hard to use one-handed—a challenge for those with an IV hookup—and mini manga doodles.
U.J.’s suggestion not only helps time pass, but spruces up the room to make it feel a little homier—decorate the room together with balloons on string (if balloons are allowed—ask staff before blowing yourself breathless), origami shapes, family photos, etc. This could be a nice ongoing activity for when friends and family come to visit. K.O. had comfort on her mind with her recommendation that a favourite soft toy make it into the away bag for alone-time cuddles, or, brilliantly, your child’s own pillow with one of Mummy or Daddy’s t-shirts used as a pillowcase.
For older kids, books, crosswords, word searches and other word games, a deck of cards, and a notepad and pens or pencils. You could start them on a new hobby, too, by showing them how to knit, sew, embroider, bead, etc., and then making sure they have enough material to keep it up. Or just provide them with a how-to book and equipment and let them take the lead. Of course, older kids will probably have plenty of suggestions for what they need to take along. Which brings us to the next category of time-passers… technology, something many mums swore by.
tpsdave / Pixabay
If you’ve got an old laptop lying around, throw it in the bag with a few DVDs. If not, a portable DVD player could be a good investment if the hospitalization will be a long one or a repeated event. Nintendo DS, PSP, and other hand-held gaming devices would be useful for slightly older kids, and if you don’t have one, take a look at Hard Off, one of the Book Off family of shops, or another recycle shop. Give your child a history lesson—and a good laugh—and enjoy a bit of nostalgia yourself by getting her or him an old-school Gameboy with a few Mario and Luigi games.
The big one, of course, is a tablet. Load it up with games, photos of friends, family and pets, and videos, and boredom should remain at bay. Heck, fill it up with some educational programmes, too. Bored kids will do anything—maybe even study the non-dominant language.
Last but not least, K.H.A suggested food. If allowed, stock your child’s room with healthy snacks, or even something more substantial. If they’ve got a mini-fridge, even better. Not having to suffer hunger pains in addition to illness will make them feel much more at home.
With any luck, the hospitalization will be a short one, but with the right boredom busters, even a longer stay away from home can be overcome with fewer tears and more fun.