All in play
Having a little one sick is tough. It's so hard to see them in pain and feeling helpless. A couple of weeks ago now, at the beginning of the week, Robby became miserable at night.
If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that kids light up from new and unexpected kinds of play. It doesn’t have to be complex. Some of the easiest and most fun play ideas that have come to me without referencing good ‘ole Pinterest have been from just looking around and recycling empty containers, using loose kitchen and game parts, and following the lead of kids. I take a character or type of play
Let's not kid ourselves, most adults aren't thrilled to go to the dentist. I have to admit, I used to be one of them. In a surprising grown up twist, I will take my floss scolding for a little dose of quiet time to myself. I love my kids, but any stay at home caregiver of littles knows how golden 30 minutes of time is for uninterrupted thoughts. But enough about me, I'm here to share how proud I am of my three year old for her bravery during her last visit to the dentist.
Children learn about the world around them through play. Well before they celebrate their first birthday, they learn basic concepts of how manipulating something causes a secondary response, such as a banging sound or rattle shake. Little ones continue to learn about concepts like object permanence, where they understand that something exists even when they can't see it. Or that there are words to define each object's features.
Not all hospitalized children are bedridden. In fact, there are many children throughout the hospital who are able to move, with or without assistance, around their room and to other areas of the hospital. But at this time of the year, many of those who are able to play on the floor or at a desk cannot leave their rooms due to infection control policies.
Even when a child has freedom to be a child and play within their designated treatment environment, how long can we really expect them to stay entertained confined in the same room playing with the same two or three toys. That's where a little repurposing of your resources can come in handy.
As the final leaves fell to the ground and temperatures started to plunge here in the Midwest, I started thinking about what it’s like for families in the hospital during the holidays. Not only does it disrupt normal routine, but it also can cause ripples in new or recurring special holiday traditions. I can remember a time working in the ICU when a family felt torn about what to tell their young and very ill child who was asking a lot about if he would miss Christmas - if Santa would know where he was.
At my last employer, I was on the interview panel for the new dance/movement therapy position. My colleague asked the interviewee how she might justify a dance/movement therapy consult for a child critically ill, injured, or with major physical or cognitive limitations if she was met with resistance from a family member or health care professional. The first words out of her mouth were simple, but powerful. Without hesitation she said,
Today I'm going to explain how you can create medical/hospital edition cards to use with the Headbanz game. Check out my previous Game on! blog post to read about why game playing with a medical theme is a fun way to help children learn and prepare for a visit to the hospital for surgery.
Here is a little more information about why I love this game:
In the hospital setting, child life specialists create opportunities for play based learning in a variety of ways. We do this through pre-surgical tours, procedural preparation, new diagnoses teaching, medical play, medical art making, feelings activities and more. Not only does education help children understand the “whys” for their medical experience, but it also prepares them for next steps, creates feelings of mastery and confidence, and provides strategies to cope.