Winter time is a time for snowflakes, winter wonderlands... and GERMS!! We would know all about the latter since we have had the flu at our house this week.  I don't know what happens at your house, but at our house when my son or I is sick, then the TV is on A LOT more than usual.  I am a firm believer in keeping TV time to a minimum for kids (see blog post from June 2011), but desperate times call for desperate measures (or so they say).

I still didn't want the TV on all day everyday.  When Timothy is sick, we switch back and forth between the TV and our sick box.  What's a sick box?  A sick box is a box filled with special things that only come out when you are sick, which is one reason why they stay special.  It's a way to keep your child entertained even if he/she is couch bound (or at least can't go outside or doesn't have a lot of energy) and feel a little better (because special things always cheer us up a big... right?).  What is in a sick box?  Well, each sick box will look a little different depending on the age of the child, the child's interests, etc.  Here are some suggestions and a starting point for you.

Pre-Talkers:  special stuffed animal (that can be washed), cloth book (that can be washed), See and Say (or something that is exciting that makes noise), mirror (you would be amazed how long a child can be entertained by looking at himself/herself.  You could also practice making funny faces), crayons and paper (for kids who are one or older), CD to sing to.

Early Language:  special stuffed animal (that can be washed), a new book (or a special book), stickers/crayons/paper/envelopes/stamps (you can make special greeting cards and send them to friends while you aren't feeling well), travel game (because they are usually magnetized or use pegs so pieces don't go everywhere), new coloring books, CD and play microphone to sing with.

Elementary/Middle Language:  travel game (because they are usually magnetized or use pegs so pieces don't go everywhere and you don't have to sit at a table), new book to read together, mad libs (those can provide lots of laughs), small figurines of favorite characters to set up and play with (i.e. GI Joes, farm animals, etc).

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