Since acquiring your spinal cord injury, your role in parenting, or your parenting style may have changed. Adaptations have to be made to the environment to allow you to resume caring for your children. There is a article about that called, Parenting on Wheels: Tips on How To Make it Easier. But once you’ve solved the problems of day-to-day activities, what about having fun?
Just because your caregiving style has changed, it doesn’t mean you can’t participate fully in doing activities and having fun with your children. You may be afraid that now parenting will be too difficult to allow time for enjoyment. To help with that problem, here is a list of recreational activities you can participate in with your kids.
1. Do some cooking and baking
Some parents, even those who are not wheelchair users, shy away from letting their kids in the kitchen. Maybe they are afraid of the mess the kids might make. Or maybe they have safety concerns.
These worries should not keep you from enjoying cooking with your child. You can find child-friendly recipes online or in books. If you weren’t much of a cook before your injury, now you can watch instructional videos to improve your skills. There are even videos for children that teach them proper cooking technique and safety in the kitchen.
This video on knife skills is taught by Chef Ann Butler. Watch it with your kids, and you may even learn a thing or two!
2. Play board games, card games, or put together puzzles
The selection of board games and card games are almost endless, and new games are developed every year. Unlike playing video games, board games are great for encouraging conversation and interaction while creating some healthy competition. A lot of games also have the extra benefit of being educational. Numbers, counting, and reading are often involved.
And games exist for almost every age level or cognitive level. Even toddlers can start to do matching games that involve pictures or colors. They can enjoy the simplest puzzles as well. Not only will you be having fun with your children, but you will also have the satisfaction of knowing you are helping teach them as well.
3. Join your kid’s sports team as a coach
Parents often help coach their kids’ sports teams. But if you’ve ever noticed, coaches have to stay on the sidelines. No active participation is necessary. If you have a voice, and your vision is not impaired, you can help observe the player and give encouragement and direction.
Even if your child is not involved in sports, you could still help coach a local team and bring them to the games with you as an outing. They may enjoy watching the event and socializing with the other kids that are there.
4. Play some video games
There are several different video game console brands and hundreds of games to choose from. For the most part, unless you pick games that rely on movement sensors, you can compete with your children right from your chair.
Video games sometimes have a bad reputation for being a waste of time, but if you choose your games carefully, you can find benefits in many of them. Some games incorporate skills that can be educational. Others require movements that can improve reflexes.
As long as you screen the games for inappropriate content and you don’t neglect other activities, playing video games can be a healthy part of your bonding experience with your child.
5. Have a movie night
Most kids won’t pass up the opportunity to watch TV and eat snacks. Your kids will probably love to snuggle up with you on the couch in their pajamas and have a special movie night.
If you want to add some fun, you can pick a theme for the evening and choose a film or two that go along with that theme. You could also prepare snacks or decorate accordingly. For example, if you have an animal theme, choose movies that have animals in them. Then have a dinner of hot dogs and “ants on a log.”
Author: Annie Beth Donahue is a professional writer with a health and disability focus. You can find her at www.anniebethdonahue.com