How to Visit the Nursing Home with Kids

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nursinghomewithkids

Many of us have family members, friends, or sweet elderly ladies and gentlemen from church that are currently residing in the nursing home in our area. These men and women love guests, but sometimes it is hard to balance visiting and bringing your children. How can we prepare our children for a nursing home experience? Here are a few simple ways we can make these visits fun and enjoyable:

1.) Phone Calls and Small Visits

When explaining to your children that you are visiting a great aunt, grandfather, or just visiting to bless a stranger, sometimes it is good practice to begin with a simple phone call. Allowing your child to connect with this person in a short conversation sharpens their communication skills and the phone ringing in Grandma’s room will totally make her day! Let you child share that he or she will be making an upcoming visit and plan one soon.

Small, frequent visits are better than very long, drawn out trips. These shorter visits will benefit both the child and the elderly and gives them something to look forward to. (If you have multiple children, you may consider taking one child per visit as to not overwhelm at first. This gives you one on one time with each child plus blessing someone with your visit!)

2.) Use Soft Voices and Quiet Feet

It is a great idea to practice at home walking quietly and using soft voices before your nursing home visit. Explain that, just like you and your children, that people in nursing homes do not enjoy hearing loud noises while they are resting. People rest at different times in the nursing home, so staying quiet and respectful can be hard for kids but it can be done! Make being quiet into a game. Who can walk the slowest? Who can be as quiet as a field mouse going down the hallway? (Also check with the front office to make sure children can visit the actual rooms themselves. Some nursing homes have a rule that children under 12 cannot visit during flu season).

3.) Bring Something Special

Everyone loves photos, colorful artwork from children, and a meal from their favorite restaurant. Bring something small and special when you visit. Grandparents love to share pictures of their grandchildren or family photos from reunions past. Hanging artwork on the walls gives their rooms decor and color, and fresh flowers bring spring into their space. Bring a coloring page for any roommates too!  Nursing home food gets old after a while, so a home cooked country meal or a sundae from their favorite eatery will hit the spot. Even a bag of old fashion candies like peppermints or root beer barrels are always enjoyed. (Note: talk to the nurses on staff to see if the person you are visiting has specific allergy or dietary needs before bringing food).

4.) Don’t Forget Holidays

Many nursing home residents are from out of state and have family that are an eight hour drive away. These people would love a face to face visit on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Cheer them up by taking your kids dressed up in costume on Halloween! Ask about their birthday and take balloons and a small gift. These are traditions they will treasure greatly.

5.) A Smile and a Song

When all else fails, just smile and sing. Kids love to share simple nursery rhymes, short songs like Jesus Loves Me and the ABC Song, and even caroling room to room during the Christmas season. Everyone loves music, and kids love an audience. It may seem awkward at first, but once you see the joy a little music brings, you will be singing your heart out in no time.

Do you have any tips for visiting the elderly at a nursing home? How do your children respond?

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Hey friends! I’m Christie and the proud mama of three amazing children, Eden, August, and Titus. We love to watch 80s commercials on YouTube before bed, grilling on the back deck, a good round of Clue, and loudly playing basketball and jumping on the trampoline, keeping our neighbors on their toes. We currently have zero pets because they all seem to run away, I cannot keep real plants alive, and the kids will be in high school, middle school, and elementary school in the fall, so all thoughts and prayers are welcomed and appreciated. Being a part of Knoxville Moms has been such a blast and I have met some incredible women that have since become some of my dearest friends. Take a look at their stories, you’ll love them just as much as I do!

3 COMMENTS

  1. Great tips! I love the quiet tip and practicing at home. I used to work in a nursing home, and nothing brightened the place up faster than children visiting. Thanks for sharing!

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