Your child loves to run around in the backyard, scale the jungle gym, ride his scooter, and climb the furniture on a rainy day. Being a kid means that activity is on the menu, every day, without fail. But when your child falls from that jungle gym, or crashes his scooter, broken bones and sprains can occur, and recovery can be tough for active kids. Help your child to cope with recovery with these five tips.
- Turn bath time into shower time. Submerging a cast in water is a big “no-no” when your child is recovering from an injury. If you have a handheld shower head, you can turn bath time into a shower, being careful to clean your child without getting his cast wet. If you don’t have a handheld shower head, try a waterproof cast cover. They’re available on Amazon and in many drug stores, and can protect your child’s cast from bath water.
- Talk to your other kids about the injury. If your child is coming home with a broken arm, her siblings will need to understand that there will be no pushing or tackling until the arm is healed and out of the cast. If your child has, say, an ankle sprain, she’ll be a little bit slower than usual, and her siblings may want to remember to wait for her instead of running ahead.
- Come up with alternatives. At daycare or preschool, kids get outdoor time everyday to be active and let their energy out. It might be tough for your child to watch his classmates climbing play structures or playing ball when he can’t participate. Talk with him about an interesting craft or other activity he’s been wanting to try, and send him to school with that activity so that he can occupy himself when the rest of the group is running around.
- What are some safe activities that your child can engage in that will keep her active. For any type of break or sprain, swimming can be therapeutic. Using a waterproof cast cover in the pool, and holding your child as she figures out how to move in the water despite her injury, will keep her safe and her cast dry. And a kid with a sprained ankle can still play catch, while a child with a cast on her wrist can ride her tricycle. Restricting all physical activity is unnecessary.
- If you’re child is becoming tense and irritable because she’s frustrated by her lack of range of movement, try some techniques to relax her. Breathing techniques can calm a child who is irritable. And a children’s yoga class can help her to calm down and also move her body in a safe way, if the teacher can help to modify her movements.
No, your child’s injury won’t sideline him forever, but a few weeks, to a child, can feel like an eternity. Coming up with a few ways of helping him cope during this recovery period can make it go by much more quickly!