Fevers and flus, colds and viruses, are challenging for parents. Not only is there a chance you have to miss work, but the thought of keeping a sick child down is a task all of its own. Many small children just want to be held and rocked – hour after hour – sometimes, day after day, until they are feeling better. The older child, though they don’t want to be rocked, they do want you within their range of vision.
So what is a parent to do with a sick child?
- Keep a few special books hidden and available for use only for those sick days. The newness of not seeing them often will make it a delight to read again.
- New coloring books and crayons are always a treat – for parent and child!
- Make a fort. If they have to lay down, throw a blanket over the dining room table and crawl inside with your pillows and books. You’re never too old to play in a fort!
- Grab some old socks and markers and make a few puppets. Just because they’re not feeling well does not mean their imagination stops.
- Tell them a story of when you were a child and what your parent used to do for you when you were sick. Maybe a special cookie recipe will come to mind. Baking with your child is always a treat.
- Make up silly songs!
- Reward yourself! A hot bath and a glass of wine are always nice at the end of the day from being indoors with a sick child. A foot soak. A facial. Ask for a neck rub. You deserve it!
Even though they’re not feeling well, the crying and whining can easily get under anyone’s skin. We’re only human. We love our children so much, and they’ll never know how much until they become parents themselves, but our parenting patience is truly tested when our children are ill.
Just know you’re not alone.
You may look like at the end of your child’s sickness that you’ve been in a few rounds of a boxing match, and your opponent won, but just know your child won’t remember their sickness, but those hours of your loving patience, the rocking, the snuggling, the reading, the baking, the laying in the fort – those memories for your child will last a lifetime.
So pat your patient, beautiful, handsome, wonderful self on the back – you’re doing a great job!