Outdoor play is important for kids of all ages to keep their brains growing and their bodies strong. There are different kinds of play for different children, but there’s certainly something for everyone, regardless of ability, age, or location. However, sometimes accidents happen and the tears flow. Here are my top ways of turning the tears into smiles.
BritMoms recently asked us to take part in the Elastoplast #TearsIntoSmiles Challenge and share how we comfort our children when they are hurt while they are outdoors having fun just being kids and having fun. In exchange, I was sent some cute sticking plasters and a fun ring toss game. First I’ll share this super-cool artwork that will certainly cheer up anyone. I’m not quite so talented as this artist, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve when I need them. In exchange, I was sent some cute sticking plasters and a fun ring toss game.
Just this month, Kallista has gained the confidence to ride her bike on her own. No doubt she will face falls and endure scrapes and bruises. Two years ago Tristan was at this stage and he had his share of crashes. Perhaps the most famous was while riding down the hill we live on, trying to get up from the road onto the sidewalk, and ending up crashing into the newly planted, prickly bushes that were right there….but he lived to tell the tale the though his cuts have healed, his bike still has the scratches to tell the story. And of course, there’s also Tristan, who retells his misadventure every few weeks as we’re running down the road in an effort not to be late for an appointment or event.
Add in some recent growth spurts and kids tend to fall over their own feet, too! But with these gains in growth, they can now do more at the playground; they can reach further; they’re trying out new things, climbing higher, and growing their confidence and skill base.
This is great to see, and fun to watch, but it can lead to small accidents – but that is also a part of life. Learning about personal boundaries and consequences are a part of growing up. It’s never nice to see your child hurt…but if it isn’t major, they’ll generally be okay in a few minutes and on the go again.
I always have sticking plasters with me at all times – in my wallet, in a mini first aid kit in my backpack, in the first aid kit in the car and another in the kitchen cupboard…and I’m sure it’s because I have so many around that I don’t need them often.
But I’m always prepared.
Of course, I also have other strategies to sooth my children when they need it. These are the options that work best for my children:
- Giving my children a hug is always a comfort for both of us.
- Humour is a fun way to take a mind off a bruise or scrape. When my children fall, first I make sure they don’t have any broken bones or major injuries before they move…and when ending my evaluation, I always finish off with, can you move your fingers? To which I usually receive a growl or whine, and then I reply…now pinch my nose! No, seriously, pinch my nose so I know you aren’t permanently damaged…and they always pinch it and I scream in mock pain from their effort and they giggle and smile…that first smile is important after an injury. Once they smile, I know we can deal with everything else.
- Cleaning up a wound isn’t fun for anyone, so I use some distraction tactics on these occasions. I have my kids tell me about shapes they see in the clouds, for example. Because they’re always moving, there’s always something different to see.
- If your child is still a toddler, you probably carry a stuffed animal or toy around with you. Get this out (or keep one just for times like this in your bag) and give them something different to focus on.
- If it’s a bigger job, then they may need more distraction so allowing them to choose a game to play on my mobile/cell phone can be an option. They don’t often play electronic games, so this is a treat for them.
- Once a kid is patched up, I can give them a special sticker to put on their hand, their shirt, or their jacket to help them feel better.
- Often kids will feel better already by this time; but sometimes they are still in pain. When Kallista had a particularly bad fall two years ago and we still had 1km to walk home, I had to get creative. We had just left the hardware shop so I joked that we would have to go back and buy the wheelbarrow so I could wheel her home! I almost had to do that….but we did manage with Kallista in my arms most of the way uphill home. But to this day, every time someone has a stumble, one kid or the other will joke that we need to go to the hardware shop and hope they have a wheelbarrow in stock! Try to find something that your child can relate to and make the situation be seen in a new light.
- Another strategy is to use FaceTime or Skype and call someone (Dad, a grandparent, etc.) and let your child tell them what’s happened and how their day has gone. Getting sympathy from someone they love will help them feel better.
- And of course, when you use a super-cool sticking plaster to cover up a scrape or cut – especially if it’s a character image; they can use it like a badge of honour to give them courage to go on and face the rest of their day!
Growing up in Canada the band-aid brand that was always in the first aid box was Elastoplast. The tan-coloured stretchy fabric band-aids came in all sizes and shapes and I always knew that I could find one to fit over my knee or around my finger. Moving over here to the UK and raising my kids here, there’s a lot that I miss – large front and back gardens, open school yards for open spaces and lots of safe places to ride a bike or skip to school.
But quality plasters aren’t one of the things I miss. I love that the brand I grew up trusting is also available here in the UK. Since 1924 they’ve been sold around the world; you may know Elastoplast as Hansaplast or Curitas.
And just as there are different ways to playfor children, there also many varieties of Elastoplast to suit personalities, occasions, and situations. From plain and practical to fun characters, there’s something for everyone. This certainly makes having an owie much more exciting than in the ‘olden days’ of my youth!
So get out there and have fun! Let your children run and grow and enjoy the great outdoors! But for those times that you need a little something, be sure to keep a few Elastoplast products in your backpack (or the kids’) and turn those #TearsIntoSmiles.
Note: No children were hurt during the making of this blog post…in fact – I was the first one to ‘really’ need a plaster when I cut my thumb while drying a mug that broke in my hand….and I was greatly cheered up when the children said that they would part with just one of their special plasters!
This post is an entry for the BritMums #TearsintoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast.