After breaking a bone, your child may be in a cast for as long as three and ten weeks before the healing process is complete. Unfortunately casts tend to stick out like a sore thumb, which tends to make kids feel self-conscious about their appearance. You may find that your child is more resistant to things like going to school, playing outside, and enjoying basic weekend activities while they are wearing a cast. Luckily there are a few fun ways to make your child feel good about their cast, and maybe even score them some "coolness" points at school. Consider one or more of these four effective ideas:
Invest in a Cast Cover
One of the best ways to brighten your child's days in a cast is to invest in a few different cast covers for them to wear. These covers can be put over the cast like a glove or wrapped around the cast and worn like a sling. Some are waterproof, which enables your child to enjoy swimming pools and beach trips on hot days. Others are brightly designed and feature bright shapes that act as a conversation piece in places like school and at the park. Most cast covers are machine washable for easy maintenance, and they can always be used for something else once the cast comes off – try sewing the ends of them closed after stuffing them with cotton to make bed pillows. For more ideas, check out a company like The Fun Cast.
Host a Cast Decorating Party
Another awesome way to make your child feel good about wearing their cast is to host a cast decorating party for them and their friends. Gather a bucket of colorful markers, a few water paint kits, some plastic stencils, a book of stickers, and some poster board. The kids at the party can make their own casts using poster board and everyone can decorate their own casts throughout the party. Then they can have a chance to make a permanent mark on your child's cast, which will give them all something fun to talk about when everyone goes back to school. It's a good idea to host the party during the day so everyone can decorate outside, which will make cleanup a lot easier when all is said and done.
Join a Physical Therapy Group
To ensure that your child has the support they need while in a cast, consider joining a physical therapy group that is designed specifically for kids in casts. These types of groups are filled with other kids that are healing from broken bones, and in a group setting you can expect that your child will have the opportunity to participate in safe recreational activities that helps to boost their self-esteem and makes them feel less alone in the world of cast wearing. And your child is sure to make new friends which enriches their social engagement and provides them with a larger pool of support within your community.
Feature Cast Heroes During Bedtime Stories
To reassure your child that there is nothing bad about having to wear a cast, and that it fact it can be quite admirable, consider borrowing books from the library that feature children and heroes who wear casts and read a new book that features these characters every night before bed. It will give your little one something good to think about before going to sleep, and help make sure that they start the next day with a positive frame of mind so they can take on the day with confidence. You can help your child create their own cast hero books by folding a few pieces of construction paper in half, stapling the folded edge to stay closed, and then using crayons to create the contents on the pages.
You'll find that the more control your child has over how their cast is presented, the more they'll embrace the need to wear it and the less they'll likely think about it overall.