Sniffles. Coughs. Runny noses. These are all a part of childhood. Most kids are lucky enough to associate the doctor with a few uncomfortable pricks and a good job sticker.
Other kids spend far more time resting, going to appointments, and associate much more complex emotions and experiences with doctors and being sick. Still other kids, like mine, have a parent with a chronic disease and they have a whole different set of fears, questions, and emotions to process.
During the month of May we are raising awareness and money for some of these children. The kids that are diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. The kids who live with a parent who has CF. This is a genetic disease that primarily effects the lungs and pancreas making various things, including breathing, difficult.
In honor of these kids, I wrote this storytime and launched the FUND MORE BREATHS t-shirt campaign – you can read more details here. I hope you will join us in spreading awareness and hope during the month of May.
And now on to story time.
Get Well Storytime
Note: Our story times always have the same parts; We start with a hello song. Next, I read 2-3 books about a topic with a rhyme/song and group activity that works on a developmental goal in between each book. We end with a goodbye song and then head to the table. At the table there is an invitation of some sort that works on another one of the developmental skills they are building. These elements are all listed below so you can move them around into whatever order works for you!
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Books about Being Sick
Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson
You remember Bear from Bear Snores On? In this one poor Bear has a cold, but not to fear! His friends gather around him and offer their very best care. Such a sweet story about caring for other people.
Sniffles for Bear by Bonny Becker
Bear has a cold and he’s pretty sure it is the end of the world. Mouse comes over to cheer him up, but everything he tries just makes Bear more crabby. Finally Bear gets cozy in bed, drifts off to sleep, and when he wakes up he feels much better. But Mouse has caught his cold! Fun read aloud.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
This Caldecott Medal winning book is a sweet story about a kind zoo keeper who has a sick day. A simple story about friendship and being sick is made all the better with the striking illustrations. A unique woodblock printing and pencil technique draws you into the soft world of Amos McGee and his friends.
Song about Sickness and Health
Breath in Breath Out from Music With Nancy (watch on YouTube)
This simple song is so calming. So much of being sick or being around illness when you’re a child is stressful. The needles, the doctors, the machines…taking a nice deep breath can be so restorative. This song also fits so well with our FUND MORE BREATHS campaign for Cystic Fibrosis.
The Goodbye Train is Leaving. (Watch on YouTube) from Jbrary
DIY Doctor Pretend Play Kit
One of the main ways that young children process things in their lives is through pretend play. With doctor visits, even for routine matters, children experience a lot of new things that it is helpful for them to pretend and practice. These simple props are a fun way to do just that.
Box of Band Aids
Syringes (recycled from baby tylenol)
Cotton Balls or Gauze
Small Containers (these are tiny jam jars from a restaurant I washed out)
Doctor Dress Up Clothes (optional but fun)
What to do:
This super simple basket of props entertained a group of seven children ages 2-5 once on a play date and is perfect for a child interested in learning about the doctor’s office.
There is something about a box of band aids that is just fascinating to kids. A box of off brand band aids costs next to nothing, as do the rest of these supplies that I found around my house. Place the materials in the basket in an attractive manner.
When your child shows an interest, talk to them about what the different components are after they have had a few minutes to investigate the materials on their own. Follow their lead as much as possible.
Some days their animals and babies will be sick. One day we had an elaborate hospital play theme taking over our play space. I was sick. The pretend animals were sick. They had all kinds of ideas about what needed to be done. Roll with this type of imaginative play as much as possible.
Model for them different ways to use the materials.
For instance, “Oh goodness. This baby is not feeling well. She has a fever and a temperature. I think she needs some medicine.” Ask them to assist you in making her feel better. Can they open the jar of medicine? Can they take her temperature? Simple verbal prompts or modeling can be used to extend their play.