Entertaining kids and keeping up with their energy can be a challenge, especially when you have arthritis. But with planning, a positive attitude and some help from others, you can enjoy your time with them without paying for it later in joint pain and fatigue.
Bob Richardson, a physical therapist with Duke LifePoint Hospital in Henderson, North Carolina, and grandfather of seven, offers these suggestions.
TAKE A TEAM APPROACH. Follow the old adage: the more the merrier. Keeping up with children is easier when other family members or friends join in the fun and give you a break when you need to stop and rest.
BRING OUT THE BOARD GAMES. Whether it’s Candy Land for the little ones or Monopoly or chess for older kids, almost everyone likes board games. Richardson’s favorite: Jenga, a block-stacking game that involves problem-solving skills. If small game pieces are difficult to manipulate, look for larger versions of favorite games or, for some games, have the kids move pieces for you.
BE A GOOD SPORT. Maybe you can’t kick a soccer ball or shoot hoops, but there are other sports you can enjoy together, such as golf (most kids love riding in golf carts) or swimming. If they play sports, attend their games and be their biggest cheerleader.
ENJOY THE OUTDOORS. Work in the garden with them or go for a walk – go at your own pace and let older kids run ahead and come back to you, says Richardson. His favorite: lying on the grass (on a cushy mat or chaise) and looking at the stars on a clear night.
GET CRAFTY. Share your hobby with a child or grandchild. Knitting, quilting, sewing and woodworking are fun options.
PICK UP A GOOD BOOK. Young children enjoy being read to; older kids may, too. Afterward, discuss the book. A few questions to start with: What did they like about it? Who was their favorite character, and why?
GET COOKING. Teach kids to cook and to get dinner on the table. They will learn an important life skill and enjoy a meal they helped prepare. You can enlist their help with tasks that are painful for you, like stirring and cleanup.