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Keep Your Broken-Boned Kid Content Without Shattering Your Sanity

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Do you have a child with a broken bone? If so, you have lots of company. About half of all boys and a quarter of girls break a bone during their formative years. In fact, fractures account for 15% of all childhood injuries. Wrists are the most likely area of a child's body to suffer a fracture. Fractures, usually caused by falls, are the 4th most common type of injury for kids under six. But no matter what your child's age or what bone is broken, you have a challenge ahead of you for the next few weeks: helping your kid keep his/her sanity without using yours.

Restricted activities

During the time your child wears a cast, you as the parent have to be mindful of the restrictions it imposes. For instance, to keep the cast clean and dry, your child will have to moderate the way he/she

  • eats

  • bathes

  • sits

  • plays

Depending on where the cast is located on the body, accommodations may even have to be made for how your child uses the bathroom. The orthopedic surgeon involved with your child's care will provide detailed instructions specific to the situation. If you still haven't gotten in touch with a surgeon, then you can contact one today at a site like

With all these limitations can quickly come complaining and discomfort; a close companion to these is boredom (especially if your child is usually very active). But you don't have to resign yourself to painfully awaiting the day the cast is removed. Here are some practical suggestions to help your child handle this challenging time.


The first thing you can do is encourage your child to see the cast as a blank slate for an art masterpiece. If your child likes to draw or paint--or knows someone who does--this could turn into a project that fills time suddenly empty of pre-broken-bone activities. For instance, Pinterest has extensive ideas for decorating casts that include beading, tapestry, spray painting, and colored tape.


Necessity is the mother of invention, and broken bones are no exception. If your child finds a part of the daily routine particularly exasperating, angry outbursts of frustration can ruin the mood of everyone in the household. Instead, steer your child towards creative ways to accomplish that particular task. For instance, if a broken arm makes it difficult to carry items from room to room, buy a ridiculously colored backpack in which to haul books, a laptop, or soda cans. Agree with other family members in advance that you are going to go through these challenges with as many new laughable family legends as possible. Someday at a holiday gathering in the distant future, your kids will laugh as they remember the neon green backpack.


With limitations on physical activity, prepare for boredom. After the initial pain of the injury subsides and the novelty of your child's cast wears off, he/she may easily slide into whines of, "But there's nothing to do….!" Be proactive with a variety of activities with which your child can remain occupied. (Note: don't roll all of these out at once. Throw out one or two as the days progress so that there are always new options available.)

A few ideas to keep your child from getting bored:

  • Sock basketball. Does a broken leg mean a drawerful of single socks? Grab a handful, roll them up, and give your child a target to throw them through. Keep score!

  • Juggling. Using a few soft items, your child can spend his/her time mastering this fun art.

  • One-armed bowling. Broken arm? Use a plastic ball to knock down blocks, empty water bottles, or something similar with the un-casted arm.

Other time-filling activities include learning new card games and listening to audio books. Also, this could be the perfect time to introduce your child to comic books, old-time TV shows, or the archives of radio plays. The possibilities are endless!

Although when your child first comes home with a cast the weeks ahead may loom with dark potential for pain and problems, you can approach the situation with optimism. Even though a bone may be broken, the sanity of your family doesn't have to be!