5 Ways to Send Love to Friends and Family in the Hospital Amid COVID-19 Visitor Restrictions

At Connecticut Children’s, we love making kids feel special, comfortable and cared for, whether it’s for a quick recovery or an extended inpatient stay. But every child, at every age, gets a boost from the support of family and friends too.

During coronavirus visitor restrictions, that can be a little harder than usual. For the safety of our patients and communities, Connecticut Children’s currently only allows parents and guardians to visit. That means kids who are in the hospital may be missing other important people in their life, like siblings and grandparents. Additionally, we are unable to accept in-person toy donations, so we’ve set up an online Wish List with patients’ favorite toys, games and books. Items purchased from this Wish List will be shipped directly to Child and Family Support Services and utilized throughout the year.

Until it’s safe for you to visit in person, here are suggestions for sending love and support.

Maximize video chat apps.

If needed, our Child Life specialists have a limited number of iPads available for patients to borrow for video chats.

  • Think of a question or two to engage the child you’re video-visiting, like: What was the best part of your day? Which nurses came to see you?
  • Teach them a joke to tell their care team or parents.
  • Sing a silly song together. Don’t be afraid to include dramatic antics.
  • Read a favorite story aloud.
  • If the child is able to move around, ask for a video tour of their room.
  • Make time for siblings to connect with each other via video – and furry friends too!
  • Need help explaining to younger children why they can’t have visitors right now? Read Answering Your Child’s Coronavirus Questions.

Send a care package.

Go for comfort and cheer! Wash any cloth items, disinfect hard surfaces like stickers and wash your hands before packing it all up, so your package is sanitized and ready to enjoy.

  • Fun pajamas
  • Wacky socks
  • Stuffed animal
  • Super-soft blanket
  • Room decorations, such as window art
  • Mylar balloons (Note: Connecticut Children’s does not allow latex balloons)

Provide an activity kit.

Make sure you follow age recommendations, disinfect all hard surfaces – from boxes to books to toys – and wash your hands before packing it up.

  • Legos
  • Play-Doh
  • Craft kits
  • Model building kits
  • Paper airplane instructions and paper
  • Games
  • Puzzles
  • Books
  • Stickers
  • Word search
  • Journal
  • Mad Libs
  • Crayons and coloring books for younger kids
  • Colored pencils and more detailed coloring books
  • Small toys such as action figures and matchbox cars

Send notes.

If this was a planned hospital stay, prepare a note for each day. (Keep the notes coming if the stay is extended!) Some ideas to get you started:

  • A daily joke
  • A daily “one thing I love about you…”
  • DIY Mad Libs

Offer to help parents and guardians, too.

Parents need support any time a child is hospitalized, and especially right now, since coronavirus stress and visitor restrictions may be adding to the pressure they’re feeling. Even simple gestures go a long way.

  • Send “no response needed” texts or voicemails of encouragement
  • Offer to do their grocery shopping. (Make arrangements to leave groceries on the front porch without entering their house, since families with children in the hospital need to be especially careful about quarantine recommendations.)
  • Offer to provide full laundry services, from picking it up to washing, folding and delivering.
  • Leave your phone ringer on and let them know they can call anytime to talk.
  • Send gift cards for groceries, gas, takeout and self-care.

Questions about coronavirus? Connecticut Children’s COVID-19 hotline is open 24/7. Call 1.833.226.2362.

Learn more about coronavirus and kids >

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