How Do Moms Survive Sick Days? Part 1

March 15th, 2010 by Dionna | 2 Comments
Posted in Gentle/Positive Discipline, Healthy Living, Homey Goodness, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, natural parenting, Respond with Sensitivity, Strive for Balance

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sick smiling toddler

A picture of a sick but smiling Kieran

With the eternal winter we’ve had in the Midwest this year, we’ve battled our share of colds. We cosleep, and Kieran still nurses throughout the night off and on. Normally that doesn’t bother me; I rarely wake up. And cosleeping is actually preferable for us with a sick toddler, because he rarely rouses enough to fully wake up and start crying before we can tend to him.

But when Kieran is stuffy and congested, nursing becomes more difficult. A snotty kid means I am up several times throughout the night to sit up with him cradled on my lap to suction his nose and attempt to nurse him back to sleep.

Morning light seldom brings relief, because sleepless nights often lead to stressful days. The grumpy toddler is still not feeling good, and the situation is exacerbated when I am tired, or worse, sick.

So what do you seasoned mamas do when you aren’t feeling 100%, but you still have to tend to the kids (not to mention the house)? I’ll share a few tips that have worked for me, but I’d love to add to the list with your suggestions.

Keeping the Kids Occupied

1.Books: If you have a child that likes to read, take this opportunity to have some dedicated reading time with her. Let her pull out as many books as she wants, and then take turns reading pages. Notice things in the pictures that you usually rush past. Change words around and make the book funny. Sing some of the words.

2. Special Toys: If you have a place to store them, sick days are good days to pull out a stash of special toys. Have you ever let your kids blow bubbles in the house? It’s really not that bad. What about Playdough or clay? If you have big toys that rarely come out of the closet because there isn’t enough space, now is a good time for them to make an appearance: tents, tunnels, ball pits, appliance boxes for playing house/rocketship, etc.

3. Non-Messy Art: pull out the crayons, washable markers, or watercolors. Tape a huge piece of butcher paper to the wall and let kids create. Place the paper so kids can sit or stand, depending on how they are feeling and what they are drawing. Or get out a stack of old magazines and scissors. If you keep it in a contained area, clean-up isn’t too strenuous. One of Kieran’s favorite non-messy art projects is stickers. I just give him sheets of construction paper and stickers and he will sit quietly for half an hour or more (I do need to help him peel some stickers off, so I have to be in the vicinity).

4. Baths: Bathtime might be one of your best options, especially if your little one has a fever. Try some bathtub safe paints, foam or squirt toys, or plain old plastic/tin cups and other fun things to pour with. The parent can slouch on the bathroom floor and relax if the child is old enough; if your child is too young to bathe alone, climb on in! And add a couple cups of Epsom salts – very relaxing.

5. Sorting/Pouring/Spooning Activities: pull out two bowls, some measuring cups or spoons, and some dried beans or rice, and have your child go to work pouring or spooning from one bowl to the other. Or put two types of objects in a bowl (buttons and pompoms or shells and pebbles or marbles and beads) and have your little one sort them into two different bowls. Of course use common sense if your child is under 3 and/or likes to put things in his mouth – never leave him unsupervised. Not only is this a nice quiet activity, but it works on your child’s fine motor skills and ability to categorize objects.

6. The Boob Tube: We limit television in our house. Kieran may watch one 30 minute video a day (usually that’s Signing Time, but sometimes he watches part of Sound of Music or Mary Poppins). I don’t want to ruin Kieran with an all day TV marathon on sick days, but when I had the flu last month, I did sit down and watch a full movie with him two days in a row. He would never watch an entire movie by himself, but he did sit quite contentedly with me on the couch. And yes, I regretted it on the third day when I felt better and he screamed for “more video! more video!” throughout the day, but I was grateful for the chance to relax when I was too sick to move.
Another option for videos is to check one out from the library that has music or yoga. The programming won’t rot your kid’s brain, and they can learn something that will provide them enjoyment after the TV is off.


Tomorrow I will give some tips on how to make life easier on mama in general on sick days. Please leave me a comment if you have any ideas on additional kids’ activities or other ways to survive sick days.

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2 Responses to:
"How Do Moms Survive Sick Days? Part 1"

  1. Amber   AmberStrocel

    We loosen up our TV rules on sick days. Also, since my daughter is older she’s often game for quiet independent activities like colouring or, lately, embroidery.

    When my toddler is sick, I mostly just wear him most of the day. It lets him sleep but keeps him upright, which helps him breathe. It also helps me feel better, keeping him close.

  2. Melodie   bfmom

    You came up with all of my ideas! Colouring, TV, reading books, bath time and getting carried around and snuggling all day.

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