Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer fun on crutches #summerfamilyfunparty

Last Wednesday I got the call from camp that no mom wants to hear: An ambulance was coming for my daughter, who couldn't move her leg after a fall at camp.

This comes just days after my dear husband wound up in a sling after moving his arm just right (or wrong) while playing with our son.

And then this weekend my friend posts her photo of date night with hubby gone horribly wrong when she fell:

So summer fun - which usually looks like pools, long hikes and bike rides - has suddenly taken a significant turn.

Injuries happen. Life happens. But as a parent, how can you keep your summer from evolving into weeks in front of the television or computer when your child is hurt?

A little creativity is what counts.

Does being on crutches mean my daughter can't enjoy summer day camp? Hardly. The day after her knee strain, she was on the way to the zoo. I checked online, and wheelchairs were available. The kids fought over who would push her that day, and she had a blast.

When we go on our summer vacation and hit the St. Louis Zoo and other St. Louis attractions, we'll take the same tactic. Renting a wheelchair for your injured child - even if there is a fee - allows your child to still enjoy most of the experience, and it prevents them from overuse injuries and tiredness as a result.

Bring out the forgotten gifts and toys. As going up and down the stairs is a one-time-a-day activity right now, I've had a chance to take advantage of this "special time" and go through her room. I've found several arts and crafts activities and kits from Christmas and birthday gifts that I'm bringing out to help her pass the time.

Rethink your summer child care options if and when you can. The day I got the call about the ambulance, I was planning to drop off camp fees for tae kwon do camp. Obviously that's out. So I've been creative in filling in the last of the empty weeks for child care, including finding Vacation Bible Schools in the morning - an opportunity to meet new kids - and hiring a high school student to watch them in the afternoon. That being said, I have no concerns about sending her to the camps she's already scheduled for; it's just a matter of her being able to balance rest time too.

Rethink their socialization ideas. Play dates at the park, needless to say, are going to be limited the next few weeks. Instead, we changed her Harry Potter sleepover party (for which she was actively planning things like broom races!) to a low-key party at the local frozen yogurt shop. We'll probably have movie dates with buddies rather than invite them to the pool as she heals.

Check out the summer reading program. Even if you don't have a bookworm, encourage your child to explore new ideas through the library's summer reading program. Many times the local library offers programs for children and teens, and they are all wheelchair-accessible per the ADA. Encourage your budding reader with prizes for reading a certain number of minutes. (Our library offered haunted house passes!) And I'm not above a little healthy competition among siblings either. You could also encourage your child to read on a certain theme with a family outing tied to it if they reach the goal. (Space junkies could go to the planetarium, etc.)

Explore new ideas. Buy a science kit. Look up projects on Pinterest. Teach your kids to bake cookies. Earn a Scout badge. Take advantage of this time and the usual summer boredom to try a new activity.

Don't forget the well kids. It's not their fault their sibling is injured. Prevent resentment by allowing them special times to do the things they enjoy. Taking my first-grader on a bike ride, just the two of us, was just what was needed to turn his attitude about his sister's situation around.

What are your favorite indoor summer survival tactics? Join our Link-Up here.


Unknown said...

I look forward to the series :)

Linda said...

As moms we do have to get creative at times like these, don't we? 2 summers ago, our son broke his arm just before a big camping trip which included swimming/floating down the river. With a little creative thinking we were able to come up with alternatives and he had a great time.
Your list includes lots of ideas fun for everyone - thanks for sharing!