I’m back today with another cancer gift guide for you! It feels fitting to have this post be about the kids – the very reason for my 2 month blogging hiatus – because if you’ve had to manage cancer treatment and kids at the same time you know it can be tough.
At the time of my breast cancer diagnosis, my kids were 8, 5 and 1. It was spring and my kids were busy. My middle child turned 5 a week after I found out I had cancer. I remember throwing her a party, serving cake and wearing a smile but feeling numb. I knew my cancer diagnosis would affect them in big and small ways. I wanted them to keep living life as normally as possible, I just wasn’t sure how I was going to help them do it.
That’s when our friends, family and neighbors came to our rescue. Which is actually my biggest bit of advice if you have kids and you, yourself, are going through cancer treatment — welcome help, ask for help, organize people to help! I had a friend offer to have my kids over once a week for a playdate, the entire summer. Another friend asked if she could take my older daughter to her weekly violin lessons. My in-laws helped with my baby every round of chemo and we paid a teenage neighbor to spend her summer nannying for us.
My kids actually had an amazing summer, all while I was doing chemo! I am forever grateful. In addition to all the physical help we had, I had one cute older neighbor create a Chemo Countdown for my kids. Each time before my chemo infusion, she gave them a gift to unwrap. THEY LOVED IT. I still cry thinking about how thoughtful that was for her to do.
In the spirit of those Chemo Countdown Gifts, I have created a kids gift guide with items that would make great family gifts or if nothing else, be a distraction on the hard days.
First, our family’s very favorite book of all time – The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. We have read it as a family countless times and most of us individually, as well. It’s so good. A tender story about toy rabbit who starts his journey as one thing and then through a series of meaningful experiences, becomes something so much more.
We love a quick game, that’s also easy to learn. If you’ve never played Monopoly Deal, you’re missing out! You and your kids will have so much fun, stealing properties from each other. Don’t let old memories about never-ending games of Monopoly steer you away, this game is super fast paced.
Who doesn’t love getting mail? The answer is no one. During COVID, I printed a bunch of postcards for my kids to write/draw on so that they could keep in touch with extended family and friends while we were social distancing. Sometimes, cancer can leave you with a similar feeling of isolation. When cancer treatment and chemo enters into your family life, things slow down. We definitely had to scale back on a lot of our typical summer outings. These cute postcards can add some of the magic back in. You could send some to your kids or tell them to become a penpal with a friend. They will want to check the mail everyday!
If your daughters are like my, you know how much they love a cute and cozy blanket. I will often find them in different corners of the house, cuddled in their blankets, reading books and nothing makes me happier. We have this checkered one and it is so so good.
We are a family of puzzlers. My little guy especially. They are a perfect option, when we have hit our max screen time. I also love ones like this one, Boss Dogs, that we can work on together but not be competitive with. We each take a “dog” or two and then connect them for the finished masterpiece.
Buildzi is new to me but I have heard so many great things about it! Our family really likes Tenzi and this has a similar feel. Each person working on their own to build the tower on the card first to move on. I also love that its for ages 6 and up!
If you were creating a cancer gift basket for a family, what are some things you would include?