10 Fun Things to Do With Your Kids as a Chronic Illness Parent

As a mom of two boys 10 and under and as a lupus & fibromyalgia warrior, I completely understand the importance of keeping the kids involved and entertained while you may be physically and mentally struggling.  It may seem hard to find fun things to do with your kids as a chronic illness parent, but it doesn’t have to be! Having a chronic illness is not just hard on us as the patients, but it can take its toll on your family and friends as well.

It is hard for us to walk the fine line of doing too much and feeling like we are not doing enough.  This is something that I deal with a lot.  If we overdo ourselves, we will just make our flares worse or possibly last longer.  If we do not spend quality time with those we love, we feel awful and internally struggle with feeling like a failure.

So, in what ways can we possibly have fun with our kids when some days we may barely make it out of bed?  There are a lot of fun things do with your kids that do not involve an immense amount of physical trauma on our bodies.  Kids love to have routines and look forward to special occasions as a family…even if we don’t always see eye to eye….LOL.

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If you are having a difficult time finding family friendly things to do as a chronic illness parent, fear not!  I have come up with a list of 10 [relatively easy and most are FREE] fun things to do with your kids when you are a chronic illness parent. Coping with a chronic illness in the family can be challenging at many times, but this list has some easy ways you can ensure quality time with your family.   You may be surprised at some of the things on the list that you have not even thought of!

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1. Host a Weekly Paint Session

Honestly, I haven’t met too many kids and even teenagers who do not like to paint.  It’s kind of one of those hobbies that people from all ages and walks of life have appreciated for centuries.  This is a great thing to do with your kids that you can do from the comfort of your own home.  If you are having a flare and need a low energy and calming activity to do with your kids, start with an easy paint project!  Choose a slow day that works best for your family and make that family paint night.  The kids will look forward to this day each week and the quality time you will be able to spend with them will be so worth it!

What do you need for a paint session?

Youtube is an awesome place to find free tutorials for your weekly painting sessions.  For this type of activity, you will definitely need to get a few staples before beginning your paint sessions.  If you do not already have an arsenal of art supplies, it is important to get some quality paint, brushes, and canvas.  You can check out some of our favorite brands here.

Here’s a couple of easy tutorials to get you started!

Art therapy can be used as a complement to traditional mental health treatment.  The aim is to manage behaviors, process feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase self-esteem.  So, while your kids may thoroughly enjoy each art session you have together, know that you are also doing yourself a favor.  Reducing stress and anxiety when dealing with a chronic illness can be beneficial in leading a happy and productive life, even while sick.

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2. Learn a New Language Together

Learning a new language with your kids can be quite a fun and rewarding thing do!  The best part is that many language classes geared towards kid learners are FREE or pretty low cost!  These are courses that you can complete online.

Kids will love learning a new language with you and sharpening their skills as the weeks go on.  Soon enough, you will be able to hold basic conversations with your child in another language and that is simply amazing.  This fun activity has the potential to really enrich the lives of your child and their future without ever having to leave your house.

What do you need to learn a new language together?

You mostly just need a computer or smart tv to learn a new language with your child.  Of course, you could always utilize free services at your local library as well, so that may be an option if you visit your local library often.  You also need a little spare time in each day as well.  Many experts believe that you should study for at least 30 minutes a day to really learn the language.

This is my favorite free program to learn a new language!

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Duolingo

Duolingo offers a wide variety of languages that you and your child can learn together.  The best part is that you can use it for free and from the comfort of your home.  They have a really nice dashboard that helps you track you progress as your go further into the lessons.  I highly recommend them for your new language adventure!

 

things to do with kids chronic illness

3. Practice Yoga Together as a Family

If you haven’t heard of the massive health benefits associated with yoga, now is the time to reap those benefits!  According to the American Osteopathic Association, “The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome,” explains Dr. Nevins. “Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.”

What do you need to practice yoga together?

You really only need some sort of streaming device and some comfortable clothing.  If you want to make your yoga sessions a daily or weekly activity with your kids, I highly recommend investing in a yoga mat for both you and your child.  Yoga mats can provide stability and comfort when doing certain poses.  You can check out some relatively priced yoga mats here.

Here’s a really awesome purple yoga mat if you are looking for some lupus or fibromyalgia color inspiration.

Here’s a few yoga videos to get you started!

I wrote a post a while back about the best Youtube videos for beginners yoga for those with lupus and fibromyalgia.  If you are just beginning, I highly recommend subscribing to some of the channels in that list.  That post includes yoga videos that are directed to those with chronic pain and chronic health issues.

If you are looking for more yoga videos targeted towards kids, here’s a few that can help get you started for free.

Of course, these are just a few of many yoga tutorial videos on Youtube.  If you are looking for more inspiration be sure to check Youtube first.  There are many yoga videos aimed towards both kids and adults and can help ensure your family activity keeps everyone entertained and healthy!

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4. Plan a Weekly Cooking Class

This is one that most people probably have not even thought of but would help them out so much, especially during flare days [or weeks].  Learning to cook is a vital skill for our children to learn before the day comes and they are living on their own.  I truly believe with supervision that kids of all ages will have a fun learning and bonding experience getting to cook with you.

What do you need to cook together?

This one takes a little planning and you will obviously need to purchase ingredients for the recipe you decide to work on together.  It may involve a little more planning than the other activities on this list, but it is sure to be delicious and validating in the end.

Here’s a couple of easy tutorials to get you started!

 

It is important to always supervise your kids in the kitchen.  Kitchen accidents happen more often than most of us would want to believe, so its important to always keep your eye on your child while cooking together.

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5. Have a Family Game Night

A family game night might seem a little too traditional for your kids, but they have long survived as family traditions because they are such a fun and easy way to have fun with your family.  Dedicate a certain night of the week that your family can plan to hang out and have some friendly competition!

In fact, according to Stanford University,

“Games allow us to measure learning in ways we couldn’t do before,” he said. And, he added, echoing Gee’s discussion of non-cognitive learning, “knowledge is not the outcome we want; we want students to learn how to make choices.”

Games are a great way to have fun with your kids as a chronic illness parent because you are able to play the games at home in your PJs if you want.  You can also choose games based off of how you are feeling that night.  The flexibility in a family game night makes it the perfect activity for you to do with your kids.

What do you need to game together?

It’s 2020 and family game night does not need to be limited to only the boardgames you remember from your own childhood.  But….these are still fun and an awesome way to make a routine of your game night.

Traditional Board Games

 

App Games

  • Family Feud
  • Monopoly
  • Jeopardy
  • Wheel of Fortune
  • Charades!
  • Sesame Street Family Play
  • Tic Tac Glow
  • Draw Something

 

As you can tell, the options are limitless when it comes to finding fun and exciting games for an awesome family night!  Whether you decide to buy traditional board games or utilize the array of game apps on your smart TV, you are sure to have a great time with your kids and never even have to leave your house when looking for fun things to do with your kids as a chronic illness parent.

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6. Have a Karaoke Night

I know, I know!  Seriously?  Yes, seriously.  Throwing together a weekly karaoke night with your kids is sure way to initiate family laughter and watch your children’s confidence skyrocket!  Don’t believe me?  Give it a try one night and see how much fun your family can have without ever having to leave the house.  Pick your favorite song of all time and get ready to rock the house!

What do you need to karaoke together?

I would definitely recommend getting one of these handheld bluetooth karaoke microphones.

This particular model enables bluetooth capabilities so that you can connecgt Easily connect to your iphone iPad android Smartphone iPod, Mac, tablets, laptops, TVs and MP3 players or PC for music entertainment.

You can find many free karaoke apps on your smart device. 

Some great examples include karaoke apps like:

  • Sing! Karaoke

  • The Voice

  • SingPlay

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7. Have a camping night…inside!

What fond memories your child will keep for a lifetime when you plan an indoor family camping night!  Kids love building tents and forts and this activity helps to really help grow their imagination.  If you are feeling well enough and the weather is cooperating, maybe consider a backyard camping night.  No worries if you do not feel like leaving the house though, you can definitely set up a room as your dedicated camping spot for the night.

What do you need to camp-in together?

You technically do not need much to have a camp-in night.  If you have some extra blankets and sheets, you can build a fort just fine with a little inspiration.  Of course, if you want to make camp nights a routine activity, you could always splurge on a really cool tent like the ones below.

Of course, what fun would camping be if you did not have a great selection of tasty camp snacks?!  There are a ton of easy to create camping recipes and ideas online and I have included a few of mine below.  These tips and recipes are quick and easy and can help ensure a fun activity for you to do with your kids as a chronic illness parent.

You can find many easy recipes and indoor camping tips online.

family movie night chronic illness parent

8. Host a Movie Night at Home

Who doesn’t love to kick back and enjoy a fun movie, especially in the comfort of your own home.  Deciding to host a movie night does not need to be anything like a normal movie at home!  You can transform your home into your own personal theatre.  Depending how well you feel, there are easy ways to really make family movie nights fun and exciting for the whole family.

What do you need for a home move night?

Really just a movie, popcorn, and a cozy blanket is all that is needed for a simple move night at home.  Look for a movie that is family friendly and get ready to relax and enjoy quality time with your kids while having a chronic illness.  This is one of the best things to do when you are having a rough flare day.

Check out some of these ideas to really jazz up your family movie night!

Of course, you can always jazz up your family movie night by including a few extra fun things!  Take your family movie night to a next level with some of these cool ideas!

  • Printable Movie Tickets are an easy and cheap way to really create some excitement for kids
  • Cool Popcorn Bowls make your family movie night feel that much more legit!
  • A Projection Screen is an amazing way to bring that theatre feel to your family room!

science night chronic illness blog

9. Mad Scientist Night

Do you have a budding scientist at home?  Why not have a mad scientist night where your family can conduct fun and exciting experiments from your own home?  Encouraging your kids to enhance their scientific knowledge and giving them quality time doing a family friendly activity makes a mad scientist night a great activity to do with your children as a chronic illness parent.

What do you need for a family friendly mad scientist night?

Many kid friendly science experiments can be created with products you may already have in your kitchen.  There are many cool ideas and videos online that can help you pick out age appropriate science experiments for your mad scientist night!  I have found a few that I think are really fun for kids and easy on the ingredients that are needed to have an out of this world time!

 

photo shoot chronic illness parenting blog

10. Photo Shoot Night

Photos are one of my favorite things because it allows us to really look back on life and enjoy memories.  If you are a parent with a chronic illness, it may be hard to plan a professional photo shoot with your family and everyone’s schedules.  Yet, there is no need to worry!  You can host your own photo shoot night at your house!  You could plan a special theme or may even consider cute matching pajamas for your family photo night!  This is an awesome and fun activity to do with your kids as a chronic illness parent.  Not only does this leave you with some amazing memories you can look back on over the years, but you are able to spend quality time with your kids without having to exert much physical effort during bad flare days.

What do you need for a family photo shoot night?

You really only need a camera, your family, and a little imagination to have a successful family photo shoot night at home.  As always, if you scour the internet, you can come across some really cool ideas for themes for your photo shoot night.  You can also find fun props or backgrounds that can help you pull off a pretty awesome family photo.  You can check out a few of my favorite ideas below!

 

Conclusion:

There are many ways that you can have fun with your kids as a chronic illness parent.  These 10 activities are perfect ways to get quality time with your kids from the comfort of your home.  If you are going through a rough time physically and need a little inspiration to help you bond with your children, you should definitely plan one of these chronic illness parent friendly activities with your family today!