Super Sick Day Stash Bag
As you are browsing through the aisles of your local craft or dollar stores, look for some inexpensive easy puzzles, games and crafts that you know your child will love and be able to do independently. Independently is the key word because if you are working from home, you need your child to occupy him or herself so you can get to work.
Scoop up these items and while you’re there purchase a little canvas bag. This will become your “Super Sick Day Stash Bag.” Hide in your special secret spot and when you need it, simply whip it out and, voila; you have something new and easy for your child to do. I always had a tote like this ready to go when I cared for a sick or not so sick grandchild. It was always stashed away in my car and if I heard the phrase “I’m bored,” it appeared like magic!
Play Hide and Go Seek
I know you are probably wondering what planet I came from just thinking about this idea, but playing hide and seek with favorite puzzles, Legos or even game pieces, can keep your child occupied for a fairly long time.
Hide pieces of a puzzle in places that might be a little difficult to find but not so challenging that you hear, “Mom, I can only find 3 pieces of the puzzle or I need your help!”
This should to be fun and engaging... hiding places should be hard enough so it takes time for your child to find all the pieces, but easy so he or she does not reach a frustration level looking for them.
After all the pieces are found, your child can reassemble the puzzle, construct with Legos, or play the game. If you work from home, you might take this time to add a break into your schedule and give a little TLC and do the puzzle together. Modern Family + Fresh Ideas Parenting reminds us that, “Today is not the day to challenge your child with a new Memory game, a complicated puzzle or a Lego robot.” Remember to keep it simple.
The Mini Office
This idea is one of my all time favorites. I have used this many times with my own children and grandchildren when I had work to finish and it is a super activity for parents who work from home.
Set up an area in your office or near your workspace with supplies a child might need to “work” alongside you. Perhaps a telephone, computer, adding machine, stickers, paper, crayons, pencils, sale slips, appointment slips, sticky notes, pens, erasers...whatever you can think of that your child might love to “work” with while you are focusing on your work.
Then assign “work” by asking your child, “Can you make a list of all the places I can take my client for dinner next week?” or “ Mr. Jones is coming for lunch on Thursday. What should we serve? Write ideas for me.” Your child can draw a picture of all the places to go or make a list of all the food you might serve. My little ones love this and the last time I saw my granddaughter, she asked, “Mimi, can we work together again?” We had so much fun whistling and singing while we worked! Did I mention there is one drawback? You might have a mess, but if you can get your work done, the clean up is worth it!
This idea is the old-fashioned scavenger hunt game with a twist. You can have pre-made cards or simply make them up as you go.
Visualize this scenario: You are siting in your office. You can hear footsteps coming and that little rascal calling out that infamous phrase, “I’m bored.” You’re in the middle of a report that was due yesterday. Panic sets in. Then you remember the game from this post...
Quickly give your child 3 or 4 clues about an object to find in your house. You might say, “ I am thinking of an object that has pink stripes pink and I wear it at night. Can you guess what I am thinking and find it?”
Your child scurries out the door to find the object you described. When the object is found, your child receives a point.
You continue giving clues until you have exhausted all the non-breakable items in your house. Award a prize after a certain number of points are scored and your kiddos will want to play over and over again. Who doesn’t work for an incentive? Oh and the end result... your report gets completed by the deadline or at least close to it!
If all else fails...
Your child may be too sick to “play” or you may be too tired. So if all else fails, just use some of these dependable activities.
- Get your computer and snuggle with your little guy or gal next to you. Put a favorite movie or video on the TV. This is a win-win situation - you get a few hours of work completed and your sick one is occupied.
- Give your kids your phone to look through the videos and pictures you have yet to download or if you have photo albums or scrapbooks, let them “read” through them. My grandkids will do this for hours at a time every time they come to visit.
- Provide some stories for your child to listen to. The Far Faria App is perfect for this - it's like the Netflix for children's books. Kids love to listen to favorite books over and over again!
- If you work from home, make a schedule for you and your child to follow including some independent activities with scheduled breaks so you can give your child some undivided attention.
Let’s face it, you don’t need a crystal ball to determine that there will be a sick child home at some point in your future; so be proactive and set up some of these suggestions before you even need to use them. Then they will be ready to go on a minute’s notice. Let’s hope these activities keep you calm, cool and collected the next time you have a child home sick!
About the All-Star Blogger
Kathy is a retired 1st and 2nd grade looping teacher, who taught full time and part time in her hometown of Springfield, PA for 30+ years. She is wife, mom of three grown children and as of today a Mimi of three with one on the way. Kathy volunteers in her daughter’s Kindergarten Special Education classroom weekly. She loves to create, write and has an obsession for shoes and chocolate.