hospital stays, especially with little ones. So I thought that
I would use my basket as a chance to share some tips and ideas
for sharing some much-needed cheer with those stuck in the
hospital during the holidays (or any other times, for that
1) Distractions – Small toys, hard-cover books, stuffed
animals; all of these things make great distractions for a
child in the hospital. Hard-cover books are easy to read, hold
and turn pages when sitting in rocking chairs (paperbacks
sometimes flop open, or are difficult to hold and read). Small
toys are easy to use in beds, and don’t take up a lot of
space. Stuffed animals are easily washed and portable for
security-blanket-type reasons. Try to eliminate any metal in
the stuffed animals, so that they can travel with to scary
places, like MRI machines, X-rays, etc.
2) Movies – The hospital that we frequent use is an hour away.
It has a great playroom, but many times when George is a
patient, we’re not really all that sick, just making sure he’s
carefully monitored/hydrated. So we don’t always use the
playroom, to limit our exposure to those children who may have
major illnesses that are keeping them in the hospital. Movies
are great time killers and make George’s stay better. The
nursing station does have a selection of movies, but they
aren’t always up-to-date…and it’s nice to be able to take a
few GOOD mementos back home when the stay is done.
3) Snacks – Variety is the spice of life. And a variety of
items to keep little ones interested in things, like medicine,
is a great tool for a mom to use. And snacks can play an
important role in this. Just make sure you check with Mom and
Dad for things, like special diets, allergies, etc. There’s
nothing worse than trying to explain to a sick, crabby little
one why they can’t have the great treat they were brought!
4) Offer to stay – whether it be for an hour or an evening. A
few minutes away from the hospital setting can be a great
breather and downtime for a stressed-out mom and dad.
Sometimes you may have to ask once or twice, before the idea
becomes acceptable, and sometimes you have to say, “Hey, your
car was broke into. Maybe you should go check it out while I
sit here with your sleeping angel.” Yeah, they might get mad when they realize you fooled them,
but the lap up and down the hospital floors will do them a world of good.
5) Remind them to shower…and brush their hair…and teeth.
Sometimes you forget. (But do so politely.)
6) Distractions for Mom/Dad – Now is not the time for Mom to
re-read War and Peace, or check out the latest issue of
National Geographic (well, unless that’s your thing)…but a
no-brain-needed read is a great distraction, way to check out
for a bit. My favorites are US weekly, People, etc. A place
where you can read about people in far-off places, with
7) Meals – At our local hospital, a meal is provided for the
child, and the parent gets a tray, only if the child is unable
to eat. Sometimes outside food is a welcomed treat…even if
it’s fast food!
8) Text, email, Facebook message – Phone calls aren’t always
easy. Doctors come in and out at their whim, nurses are busy
at all times of day, and naps are taken when you can.
Answering the phone isn’t always easy, or possible. Leaving a
text, voicemail or a message on Facebook, just giving support
and letting them know that you’re thinking of them can be just
9 and 10) Thoughts and prayers…you can never get enough.
On the last evening of our basket, we used it to take snacks
to the 4-H Christmas party. The party started at the bowling
alley, and then progressed to caroling at the nursing home. It
was so nice to share such amazing moments with the seniors of
our community. It served as a vivid reminder that connecting
generations is a great thing indeed.
Merry Christmas to you all and Big Thanks to Longaberger for sponsoring this basket for a cause that’s so near and dear to us Real Farmwives of America & Friends. Be sure to check out Longaberger on facebook.