There are some things in life you really don’t appreciate until after they’re gone. For example, living with a child who is NOT rocking the toddler cast. That is a luxury you can easily overlook.
Suddenly, you have to convince your toddler to slow down, avoid dashing into the sprinkler, and bear up under hours of unsatisfied itches.
Are you worried you might not survive the next four to eight weeks?
Deep breaths. If no one has said it to you yet, I will: You can do this.
Survive the Toddler Cast with These 5 Tips
I have braved the treacherous terrain of the Land of Toddler Casts, and I have some survival tips that will hopefully help you through:
- Invest in quality gear.
- Set up a command center.
- Splurge on some new books and toys.
- Break screen time rules.
- Make time for yourself.
Toddler Cast Survival Tip #1:
Invest in Quality Make-Her-Happy Gear
Bringing a kid in a toddler cast home from the hospital or doctor’s office is like bringing home a newborn—everyone’s tired, at least one person is cranky, and you’re frankly not sure what’s going to happen next.
And like a newborn, a child stuck in a toddler cast is going to need some special gear to make everyone’s life easier over the next several weeks.
Cast Covers for Baths and Summer Dips
One of the trickiest parts about having a kid in a cast is figuring out the bath situation when you can’t get their cast wet. Depending on the age of your child, a cast cover for a toddler arm cast or broken leg is a smart purchase because it is designed to STAY PUT while your kid is being…kid-like.
Besides, if you think you’re going to keep your toddler away from the sprinkler all summer, you’re smoking crazy pills.
A Wagon for Faster Transportation
When my daughter broke her leg, I wouldn’t have survived without a wagon (nope, I’m not exaggerating). It was big enough for her to sit in comfortably while still being confined so she couldn’t put weight on her casted leg.
A Comfortable Sling
If your kid has a broken arm or collarbone, her doctor might want her to wear a sling. This option will help keep the broken bone stable, no matter how wiggly your kid is.
The more comfortable the sling, the less fighting you’ll have to do to get her into it. *tapping nose with finger*
Slow Down with Tempting Chair
Your child will probably need to spend a bit more time sitting than usual, so tempt that cute bottom to stay put with some super comfy (and adorable) chairs.
These types of chairs are necessary if your kid is in a spica cast, which comes up over your child’s hips, belly, and onto the other non-broken leg. You can find more information about living with a spica cast here.
Toddler Cast Survival Tip #2:
Set Up a Command Center
Regardless of how severe the toddler cast is (meaning, how much movement your child has available), it’s always a good idea to set up an entertainment command center.
This might look like taking over part of your coffee table and organizing things in caddies or bin, or it might look like your toddler setting up shop with her plush chair and a lap desk in a corner of the living room.
Keeping things in one centralized location will help everyone out as the weeks go by. Here are some ideas for accessories to organize your kid’s command center:
- Plastic caddy
- Fabric bins—regular or divided
- Toy pincher (to help your toddler pick up things that are out of reach)
- Lap desk—plastic or fabric (this one works in the car, too!)
Toddler Cast Survival Tip #3:
Splurge on Some New Books and Toys
What’s a fancy command center without some new toys and books?
I realize the thought of adding to the chaos in the form of more stuff when you’re dealing with a kid in a toddler cast may sound crazy to you, but your kid’s going to be in a cast for several weeks, and she’s going to get bored. (Truthfully, you’d get bored reading the same books over and over again, too.)
Buying a few new toys or books to have on hand as the weeks go by can help alleviate some of the boredom for everyone.
Keeping Things Interesting in the Command Center
- A quiet/busy book like this is a great idea for a more educational option.
- These magnetic wooden blocks will keep her little hands (and mind!) busy.
- She will find the sorting snail a puzzle worth exploring.
- Decorate the toddler cast with a special art kit.
- Introduce a new pop-up book to inspect.
- Reusable sticker pads are a smart investment for hours of interest.
- Choose a new baby doll or teddy bear and give it a matching cast with white grappling tape.
- Simple maze books will keep her interested while providing her opportunity to practice her fine motor skills to keep within the lines!
Need more ideas? Check out 9 Overlooked Toddler Books Your Bookworm is Sure to Enjoy.
Toddler Cast Survival Tip #4:
Break Screen Time Rules
Every parent knows the importance of limiting screen time. That said, you may need to adjust your screen time rules for a few weeks, especially if your toddler is in a leg cast.
It will be shockingly easy for those screen time rules to dissolve into nothingness, so set up some ground rules first. Here are a few ideas to think about.
- No screen time before noon.
- There is no screen time until there has been other activities first (like reading, quiet play, etc.)
- We have a block of TV (2 shows) in the morning, and then a block of game time in the afternoon.
Bottom line, you do what you’re comfortable with, and don’t feel guilty about it. Ain’t nobody got time for guilt when you’re dealing with a toddler cast!
Need some new toddler-loved and mom-approved shows and movies? I suggest:
- Daniel Tiger (if she falls in love with this, I’ve got birthday ideas for you!)
- Creative Galaxy
- Mary Poppins (a Disney movie with ZERO scary parts!)
- The Musical World of Mr. Zoink
Toddler Cast Survival Tip #5:
Get Out On Your Own
One unexpected result of having a kid in a toddler cast is an uptick in clinginess. He will be fussier than normal. She will want to be around you more often. After all, there’s absolutely nothing fun about being in a cast.
This increased moodiness is totally understandable, but it’s also going to grate on you after awhile.
So think ahead about this extremely important piece of advice: make time for yourself during the weeks of recovery time.
You and your husband can take turns going out, or reach out to family and friends to babysit so you can slip out for a dinner-and-a-movie date, just to remember what “the two of you” felt like. (After all, you guys will be together long after the kids leave the nest, so make sure you’re making small deposits to keep your union strong!)
Dealing with a toddler cast is draining, and you’ll need to do something to recharge. The items on the list below are simple, but I know they’ll prove to be relaxing in the midst of this tiring season.
- Go grocery shopping during bedtime.
- Treat yourself to a coffee (or tea) outing.
- Spend an afternoon browsing your favorite store.
- Meet your spouse/partner for dinner after work.
- Go see a movie by yourself.
- Go on a walk or hike.
You Can Survive the Toddler Cast!
You might not believe me now, but that casted kid
whining crying sitting next to you on the couch will be back to walking around, throwing things, and tearing up your house before you know it.
Until then, you will survive this season. It might take some new gear and a few extra episodes of Daniel Tiger, but you’re going to get to the other side.
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Emily lives in southwest Missouri. A former high school English teacher turned stay-at-home mama, she spends her days chasing after her daughter and her nights watching a show with her husband or reading the next book on her ever-growing to-be-read list. She loves Jesus, her people, coffee, heartfelt conversations, and impromptu shopping trips