Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The art of distraction

I won't bore you with my trials and tribulations over the past week or so. Suffice it to say, two children with chicken pox and tummy bugs has not been a joy but we're getting through it! Whilst at the peak of the illness, there is really nothing an unwell child wants to do, once they get past the worst, they can be kept happy enough if well distracted.

As I have been working hard on the art of distraction recently, I thought I would share some of the things I have been doing to keep my four-year old occupied so he doesn't think too much about (in this case) his bothersome chicken pox. Anything that works for even a few minutes is worth it in my opinion, some of these things can kill a lot of time, some depend on how much time and effort you can be bothered to make.

Television / DVDs - this is obviously the easy option. It can wile away a good bit of time, allow you to take a break or get something done. I am generally not a parent who relies on the TV (my son usually only watches his DVDs for a limited time once a week) but it has its benefits at certain times, can be relaxing for the child (and parent) and is nearly guaranteed to successfully distract!

Books / stories - more labour intensive for the parent but reading stories is good, especially when they are unwell and it can be combined with comforting hugs and snuggling up. An alternative is getting them cosy on the sofa and listening to a story CD.

A new game, toy or activity - I don't mean necessarily new, bought from a shop but bringing out a toy that's been put away that they haven't seen or played with in a long time is a great distraction. My son hadn't had playdough out at home for ages so when I suggested it, he was really happy and got stuck in. You could make up a game, find a household object they are not familiar with and allow them to use it or play with it, anything with novelty value will do the job.

Chat - little ones love to talk. If they are a bit unwell or out of sorts, they may not be as chatty as usual but will love hearing anything you have to say to them. Talking to your child about nice things they have to look forward to (maybe a holiday, birthday party, visit from someone etc), friends and family they enjoy spending time with, plans you may have for later that week, even something random like what you can see out the window will engage them.

Food or drink - not if they are ill in a way that affects what they can eat and drink but especially if it's distraction from tiredness or grumpiness, then very often an appealing snack or drink can fit the bill.

In addition to the above, it's good to remember our own attitude is important. If we tackle the day with cheer and optimism, they will feed off our positivity and it will make for a better day for everyone.

What have I missed? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for those times when you need to distract your child from discomfort, grumpiness or the like?
photo credit


  1. You are so very right about chatting - it is easy to underestimate how much children get from conversation. I'm always nattering on to my two about even the tiniest of things. My children just adore that sense of companionship they get from having a chat.

    Great post. Hope they are fully recovered soon X X

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting! Yes, I think you're right that they get a lot from conversation, more and more of course as they get older. Sounds like you enjoy some nice chats with your children :-). xx

    2. We don't watch an awful lot of TV either any more. My daughter has little interest in it - unless it's Peppa in the morning before preschool, or Get Squiggling letters or Alphablocks.

      So... at this age a pad and pen is the absolute favourite as she loves practicing her letters or drawing objects, now that she's got really good pen control.

      I am hoping this will suffice for a bit today as I'm the one that needs the quiet poorly time!

      We also like to bring crafts to the settee with our tray. If it's nothing toooo messy then we can make little projects from the comfort of the settee with a bit of pre-planning. Making little chicks, tissue or fabric collages and so on. And we can chat as we do it :) xxx

    3. Great ideas there! My son too is getting into his letters and colouring. Bringing crafts to the settee on a tray is a really good idea, never thought of doing that but I know my son would like that a lot.
      Hope you are feeling ok! xx

  2. Some great tips here I will have to pinch a few!

    1. Glad you found them useful and thanks for your comment :-)


Thank you for reading. I'd love to have your comments and thoughts!