The Summer of Bruises and Band-Aids; Teaching our Kids Self-care

This was originally posted by the Marion & Polk Early Learning Hub here.

This has been a summer made up of bruises and band-aids in our home. For  a while there it seemed like the “owies” just wouldn’t stop! We’ve lost count of the amount of cuts, scrapes and “owies” my son has had, and in the month of July we’ve had eight trips to the doctor/dentist between the four of us!  It has definitely been a painful month and one where we spent most of our “vacation” time trying to recuperate and get healthy. Thankfully there were no major “owies” and we managed to learn a few lessons along the way.

-My son learned that it is important to take care of his “owies”. He had to learn the hard way that even if something itches really badly…you can’t keep scratching it.  He had a cut on the back of his neck that probably would have healed in a few days, that turned into a month long frustration because he couldn’t stop scratching. This led to a sad but vindicating moment for my wife when he came out of his room bleeding and crying out  “Mommy you were so right and I was so wrong!” From this he was able to learn about how to keep his injuries clean, covered, and well taken care of. So hopefully in the future he will be more prone to taking better care of his cuts and scrapes from the beginning so he doesn’t have to endure such long healing times.

-We learned as a family that we need to keep plenty of bandages around the house, in the car, in my wallet, in the diaper bag…and when I say “plenty” I mean I bought a variety box that contains 5 different types of bandages within it and of all sizes and shapes.

-We had to give our daughter an important medication three times a day for seven days – and learned some tricks along the way. Like many children she was a pro at avoiding medicine time – she would keep her mouth closed, push the medicine dropper away with her tongue and even spit it out once we finally had success. As she learned avoidance techniques, we learned a few techniques to help her take the medicine she so badly needed. Gravity was our friend, patience was our friend, and at times trickery was our friend. When it comes to giving your child medicines they really need, don’t feel bad for pulling out all the tricks in the book.

-Through all of this sickness and these injuries we have found out again and again just how strong and resilient our kids can be.  Even through the pains and frustrations, with a lot of love and little encouragement, our kids bounced right back and still were able to enjoy and make the most of our vacation.  My daughter especially showed her toughness fighting through a really painful rash that would have made me not even want to get out of bed.

Bumps and bruises are pretty common when you have young kids that like to be active and play outside.  In spite of all our “owies” and hurts we decided to make the most of our time with them and kept encouraging them to go out, get dirty, explore and have fun.  We just made sure to also be ready with lots of love and bandages when the “owies” inevitably came.

This is fatherhood…

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