Wouldn’t you know it–Christmas vacation is finally here and your child gets ill. Holidays can be miserable for sick kids (and parents who must care for them). Missed parties, curtailed activities, everyone stuck at home, more work, extra worries, two weeks of caring for crabby children who can’t enjoy the fun–it kinda takes the “merry” out of “Christmas.” But it doesn’t have to–here are at-home family fun activities that sick kids can enjoy, too. Here are ways sick kids can be involved in holiday preparation from their sick bed. These ideas are so much fun your sick kids might not want to get well!
Make the sick child “Christmas Commander in Chief.” As much as sick kids are let them supervise decorations, tree placement, arrangement of ornaments and holiday planning. Make up a bed on the couch and let her tell everyone where to hang ornaments, prepare recipes, etc. Kids love being in charge–it almost makes up for being stuck inside bored! Plus, sick or not, getting to boss siblings around (politely of course) is just plain fun, especially if it’s a younger sibling ordering her elders around! If you have more than one sick child (like this author’s holiday chicken pox epidemic)–assign each different roles.
Sick kids can be the Holiday Food Coordinator. If the illness is contagious, the sick child shouldn’t be around Christmas food preparation, but that doesn’t mean she can’t coordinate from her bed. She can make lists of cookies to bake, write shopping lists, organize delivery schedules and monitor cooking progress. If she’s not sick with a digestive condition (and if she’s up to it), she can be the official Cookie Taste Tester.
Crafts Colonel. Sick kids may be able to wrap gifts, fill out gift tags, write Christmas cards and make cut and paste Christmas decorations. Let other your other children keep her company and help if she’s not too contagious. Set up a bedside stand with lap tray. Put craft supplies–scissors, glue stick, crayons, glitter–within arm’s reach. Give her a portable TV, DVD player and remote and keep her supplied with holiday movies. Play holiday music to cheer her. A plate of Christmas cookies would be appreciated if she’s not tummy-sick. Make it family fun night in the sick room!
Contest Judge. If you have other children to occupy, you might organize an at-home holiday bake-off (or cook-off) and let the sick child judge entries (make an Official Judge badge and pin it to her nightie–she’ll like that). If she’s too sick to participate, she could also preside over card-making, present-wrapping or tree-trimming contests–anything to include her and help her not feel too left out of family fun (and keep you from going insane with the chaos.)
At-home Pageant Chairperson. Have kids put together a holiday play, puppet show or Christmas pageant. Let the sick child write the script and assign parts. Haul costumes and dress up accessories into sick room and let her direct the performance. Putting on at-home plays is family fun at its finest. It’s one of the best bonding experiences you can imagine. Plus it’s fun and usually hilariously funny. Don’t forget to use the sick child’s official title–they love how important it sounds.
One Christmas, our oldest had an emergency appendectomy on Dec. 7. A week later, I was hospitalized till Dec. 21 with pregnancy complications. With two other little children and a husband working the night shift, Christmas family fun was at a minimum. So we tried some of these ideas. My post-operative daughter wrapped all the presents while recuperating. The second child baked cookies while I reclined and directed him. The youngest helped dad shop and decorate. The wrapping was messy, the decorations were crooked, the cookies tasted faintly of soap and I’m sure the kids peeked at all their gifts, but it was one of our best holidays ever. And always teach your children to give thanks for good health. Some sick kids won’t get well or go home for the holidays.