A broken bone is distressing and scary for a child. The need to wear a heavy, awkward cast on a limb can make their healing time feel lengthy and frustrating. Fortunately, you can have a positive influence on your child during this time of healing. Look at these ways to help your child heal happily with a cast.

Follow the Doctor's Rules

A cast must remain on an arm or leg until the bone is completely healed, anywhere from three to eight weeks. During this time, help your child follow the doctor's medical advice in order to facilitate this process. Doing so also helps prevent unfortunate set-backs that may lengthen the period your child has to wear the cast.

To help your child feel more willing to follow important rules, explain to your child that the cast is meant to help their bone heal and they must alter their behavior. Consider ways to make temporary behavior rules a game. For example, rather than put their full weight on a leg cast, have them pretend to only crawl like a favorite animal.

Track the Time

Some children struggle to comprehend the passage of time in terms of weeks, which makes a long-term cast feel like an eternity. You can help them track the time until their cast is removed. Doing so allows them to witness the passage of time. More importantly, this lets your child see the gradual approach of the end goal – cast removal.

Boost your child's mood during this time and create a chart to track the time until the cast is removed. Draw circles or other objects to represent how many days the cast must remain on their arm or leg. Then, provide stickers to mark when each day is complete.

Give Rewards

Plan to give your child rewards during their healing time. You can do this in conjunction with a chart that tracks the days or without. Explain the reward system to your child that details how they earn treats, how often, and what treats they can earn.

For example, provide a reward when your child first arrives home with their new cast. An appropriate reward would be an object that will help relieve boredom, like a toy, game, or book. Later, you can give rewards at the end of each week, or after a challenging experience such as a bath or first day back at school.

If you need more help with ways to help your child heal with a cast, talk to your pediatrician. A pediatrician can be a great resource while your child heals.