special needs parenting

The Very Best Way Ever to Distract a Child

Let me qualify this post by saying this was not originally my idea.  A few years ago when Ben had his first MACE/Mitrofanoff surgery, we had a behavioral consultant who gave us this idea.  Thanks Barb, it’s been a life saver!

Since that time, every time Ben has a hospitalization or surgery, or in this case, a trip to a major children’s hospital for extensive testing, for a few weeks ahead of the event, I peruse the aisles of my local Target, Meijer, and Walgreens looking for cheapo toys in the clearance or dollar section.  I stock up on toys at less than $5 each, and wrap them up.

I usually include one bigger toy, which generally is for medical play, which is a favorite of Ben’s, this time it’s the Doc McStuffins Care Cart to add to his collection of doctor kit, lab coat and Tubie Friend  and VOILA!  We have a bag full of distractions!

We add to the fun by wrapping them all up in wrapping paper, because wrapping paper is fun and it takes longer, and when you’re spending the whole day doing medical tests, every minute of distraction is a gold mine.  Also, Ben loves birthdays, so I’m sure that we will spend much of the day singing “Happy Birthday”, because quite frankly, whatever makes him happy is what’s on the docket for the day.

Honestly, it’s therapeutic for me as well.  Ben can’t really anticipate his upcoming surgeries or procedures, but I sure can!  It helps me to cope when I have something to do to help him through it, so when I get anxious, I can pop into a store and grab a few things for him and know that we will both feel better!


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