Need tips for keeping up with the kids in your life? Try these ideas from parents and grandparents with MG.
If you have kids around, you likely know how active they can be! This can be a lot for any parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle to handle—but if you’re living with myasthenia gravis (MG) and have symptoms that affect your participation in family activities, it might feel like even more. However, there are several MG-friendly options for family activities that may allow you to save energy while cherishing those precious moments.
In addition to trying new activities, consider making modifications when necessary and using this discussion guide for talking to children about MG. Being up front with kids and telling them you may need to take more breaks, or occasionally sit back and watch, may be helpful so there aren’t surprises later. We spoke with parents and grandparents living with MG about how they maximize quality time with their kids and grandkids, all while ensuring they care for themselves as well.
Keep reading for a list of MG-friendly family activities they enjoy.
1. Scavenger hunts
Ideal age range: 5-10
Estimated energy level: Low to moderate
Something you can do right at home, on a road trip or out in nature is send your little ones on a scavenger hunt. This simple activity can allow you to physically take it easy while the kids indulge in the search and share their findings with you. Rachel,* a parent living with MG, enjoys setting these up for her eight-year-old daughter, whether it involves searching for bugs and plants outside, spotting yellow cars on a long drive or scouring their home for hidden household items.
“It’s about a creative mind,” she explained. “It shakes things up, makes her run around, use her brain—and if there’s candy at the end of it, like a treasure hunt, that’s always a win!”
4. Play board games (or make up your own games!)
Ideal age range: All ages
Estimated energy level: Low
Vanetta,* who lives with MG, mentioned that her daughter is naturally competitive, so any activity that lets her daughter express that is a good one. Board games are a go-to for that reason, as well as an MG-friendly option that allows Vanetta’s muscles to rest. Plus, board games span many age ranges, so you may be able to find one that all kids can enjoy.
“Physically, I’m limited in what I can do, so we play quite a bit of board games,” Vanetta shared. “We even make up our own rules. I’m just happy she’s interested.”
Even if the kids you know aren’t interested in a particular board game, try making up your own games that cater to their interests. Vanetta said that something as simple as challenging her daughter to see which of them can fill a bowl with marbles the fastest can capture her child’s attention—and allow Vanetta to “race” her without using too much energy.
With MG, you’ve got to budget your energy.
5. Visit a park, museum or other local spot
Ideal age range: All ages
Estimated energy level: Moderate to high
If it’s taking too much mental energy to come up with an at-home activity, consider venturing out to a favorite, family-friendly venue. For Vanetta, this is often her local park that holds small concerts, carnivals and other attractions for kids.
In the summertime when the heat may be too much for those with MG, a museum or library could be an agreeable spot for the whole family. John noted this is a good option for him and his grandkids when he needs to avoid the heat. “We have a kids museum and it’s unbelievable,” he expressed. “They love it. It’s very hands-on.”
Similarly, Rachel appreciates her local library as a place to take her daughter. “It’s air-conditioned, ADA compliant, easy to get to…it’s low maintenance,” she said. Check your local library to see if they have programs for teens, tweens, toddlers or even babies.
Rachel also emphasized how important it can be to plan ahead when it comes to family outings. “With MG, you’ve got to budget your energy. That’s just a family dynamic, budgeting our plan and budgeting our time,” she explained. Similarly, John and Mary shared how they keep a lookout for benches and other places to sit, especially in the shade, to help prolong the outing.
At the end of the day, kids want to be close with their parents.
8. Share your passions
Ideal age range: Will vary based on the activity you choose
Estimated energy level: Will vary based on the activity you choose
If you’re still searching for an activity the kids are excited about, try exposing them to something you love and gauging their interest. As a personal fitness trainer, Vanetta is passionate about working out (with MG-friendly modifications as needed)—and that passion is something her daughter has picked up on, leading the two to do mini workout routines together.
“At the end of the day, kids want to be close with their parents,” Vanetta said. “Incorporating exercise and having her work out with me…she loves that. I think she loves it because we always exposed her to it and made it something that not just adults do, but it’s something fun for her too.”
Remember to talk to your healthcare team if your symptoms are impacting your participation in family activities, if you’re unsure about whether an activity is safe for you or if you’re curious about modifications you can make to participate. This doctor discussion guide may help you facilitate that conversation—and hopefully help you land on MG-friendly family activities that are right for you!