This week I was stuck on the couch with a sick child.
Nothing worse than nursing a little one who feels miserable but between cuddles and tummy rubs I had some time to come up with a top 5 list to help families soldier on with an unwell child.
Stick to the Truth It’s tempting to make the illness out to be something bigger than what it really is in an attempt to make your little one feel brave and grown up. Unfortunately, it has big potential to back fire and make them worry far more than they need to! Trust me, I learned this the hard way with my first born when the severity of his symptoms sky rocketed as I poured on the ‘who’s a brave boy’ commentary. So now I tell it like it is: a cold is a cold and a sore tummy is just that. We keep the illness contained and look forward to the time when the pain is gone and things are back to normal.
Time for Play I used to think that being sick meant a day in bed. But after countless sick days with my three boys I have a new appreciation for play. You can still play when you’re sick – you just have to think of appropriate games to play! Storytelling or building a cubby that covers the couch (or bed if they are too sick to leave their room) offer wonderful possibilities! And my ‘go to’ game on a sick day is ‘find the teddy’, where I ask my little one to close his eyes while I hide a favourite toy close by. He then sends me off to find the toy by calling out directions ie. ‘Check under the bed‘ or ‘Look in the third drawer’. When we find teddy we give him a cuddle and the ‘patient’ gets a sticker.
Distraction is critical Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to make your little one feel better and that’s when I suggest sitting with them on the couch and distracting them with a well-known TV show or DVD. And the key here is to stay with them so they can take strength from you. Holding them and rubbing their tummy or feet provides special skin contact that kids crave when they are feeling poorly – and I guarantee you’ll feel better for just being near them.
Make a portable sick bed If you have to get on with some household chores, keep the patient close by and set up a portable bed using cushions, pillows and blankets. This will stop them getting out of bed to come find you when they feel alone and scared and by using a ‘portable’ bed they’ll feel happier because they’re close to you and can chat away while you’re getting on with some of those ‘jobs’ that won’t wait.
Set up a Sick Zone Keep everything your little one might need on a table close by – tissues, cold pack, much-loved toy, water, book, paper and crayons and a SICK BUCKET.
Note: Remember to take your child to the family doctor or hospital for specific advice if your child’s health deteriorates quickly.
Kath is a mum of three who works part time and enjoys writing and catching up with other stressed out mums in her spare time. Usually she’s racing against the clock to make her boys (+ husband) arrive anywhere on time and feels quite the talented mother when two out of the three make it out of the house with shoes on!