When you are having multiple sclerosis (MS) flare-ups or are otherwise not feeling like yourself, it can be hard to find the energy to play with your kids or grandkids. But if you have committed to watching the kids, sometimes you must make the best of it.
To find out how people in the community handle those days, we reached out to the MultipleSclerosis.net Facebook page. We asked, “What are some ways to play or engage with your grandkids when you are having a rough MS day?”
More than 70 community members responded with lots of helpful tips for engaging on days when you are not feeling your best.
The number 1 answer was games. These are great because you can choose one that matches your energy level. Many games, including puzzles, board games, or card games, require little to no physical effort. Other games, like Legos, Simon Says, or charades, require a bit more physical exertion. But you can still enjoy them while you sit down and take it easy.
“I recommend I Spy.”
“Jigsaw puzzles make my grandson happy. He can do them much faster than I can.”
“We play things like Legos and card games.”
“My grandson and I play a lot of games like Candyland.”
“Charades and Simon Says.”
An easy and relaxing activity with kids is to set up a spa day with activities such as face masks or manicures. These activities allow you to take it easy and give the kids something to do. Some community members shared that they play versions of this, such as the beauty parlor, in which they let the young ones do their make-up or style their hair.
“Spa day where we use cheap face masks and wear comfy robes. I get double points for bonding even though I am completely resting.”
“My wheelchair-bound mom plays beauty shop with my 4-year-old girl.”
“I have grown-up girls and a teenager. The teenager does a manicure, pedicure, and makeover for me. She is amazing!”
Movies and TV
Another popular response was to watch TV or movies with the kids. Several people shared that if they curl up with blankets and pillows, their children or grandchildren will follow suit.
“If the activity becomes too heavy for me, I say, ‘Grandma is tired and I need to rest a bit’ and then she says, ‘I am going to rest a bit, too.’ Then she wants a blanket, and I put something she likes on TV.”
“A Disney movie and snuggles.”
Coloring and crafts
Coloring is an easy, cheerful, and creative activity to do with younger kids. Some community members shared that other arts and crafts projects work well, too, including beading, making sock puppets, or painting with just water on colored paper.
“You would be amazed how excited kids are to color with an adult.”
“I keep lots of art supplies on hand. The grandkids spend hours creating colorful drawings. Then I put them on the fridge!”
“Water ‘painting’ using colored paper, a paintbrush, and water. There is no mess to clean up.”
“Sock puppets with all the mismatched ones. I let the kids cut them up and glue stuff to them. Then we would do a play.”
Playing pretend requires creativity but little to no physicality, depending on how you play. A few community members shared that they play different versions of pretend. They either narrate stories or ask questions of their loved ones to inspire them to dream up scenarios.
“We play ‘hospital.’ I get to be the patient, and my granddaughter and grandsons are nurses and doctors. We also have a large toy pirate ship, and they play pirates.”
“I am the muse to my grandson. I direct adventures from his vast imagination. We sail rough seas on ship-beds, explore outer space on couch rocket ships, camp out with wild animals under blanket tents, and invent new worlds in closet sanctuaries.”