I write this today, as I am caring for three “patients”, who just happen to be my three most favorite people (my husband and two children.) They are all suffering from terrible colds. The kids both have coughs, and my daughter and husband both have a sinus infection. Knowing how hard it is to be sick (especially when you’re little), I want to do everything I can to help them feel better and special today. Here are a few ideas you can try the next time you have a sick little one.
1. Set up the couch with THEIR pillow, special blanket, and any extra-loved stuffed animal
2. Allow them to relax on YOUR bed, instead of theirs. (They will think this is extra special, especially if this is not allowed very often.)
3. Give in to a few requests (My sick son asked for a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast, and since he is sick, I said “yes!”)
4. Do what it takes to get them to eat/drink! (Allow them to sit on the couch if necessary, c’mon, it’s just this once! The crumbs can be vacuumed!) (Offer them a cup of non-caffeinated soda. They will think this is a special treat, and will most likely drink the whole thing.)
5. Give your child a baby washcloth to use instead of a regular tissue. It is MUCH softer on the nose, and they might not be so reluctant to let you wipe their nose (or whole face..)
6. Pull out a special storybook. We have several books with collections of stories in them that we save for special occasions. Even if you don’t have a newer story to read, cuddle up next to your child anyways, and enjoy a few familiar favorites. (For children with longer attention spans, an illness is a great time to begin reading your child a chapter book. They are more likely to lie still and listen. If you choose a great book, they will want to hear the next chapter even when they are back to their old self!)
7. Watch a movie- If you have something like Netflix on demand, allow them to choose a movie they’ve never seen before. Borrow a new movie from a friend. Pull out a movie they haven’t watched in a long time. Especially if your child is not allowed to watch movies or tv all day long, they will enjoy the treat of getting to watch a special show. (This may be a good time to allow them to relax in your bedroom if you have a tv/dvd player. My kids LOVE watching movies up in our room.)
8. A warm bath- When your child is sick, don’t rush through bath-time. Allow them to simply sit in the warm water and play. Pull out a new bath toy, (or get some of those cheap foam capsules), blow bubbles, even let them splash a bit! The warm water can really soothe them, and help drain their sinuses as well.
9. Use a humidifier- If you don’t already own one, go out and get one! Using a humidifier in your child’s room can do wonders for their breathing. The water vapor helps to open up their nasal passages, allowing them to breathe (and therefore sleep) much more easily.
10. Let them be comfortable- Today, my sick little girl is wearing a t-shirt I can’t stand. It is too big, has a hole, and is not something I would ever allow her out of the house in…However, she loves this shirt, and it makes her comfortable. My son is dressed in sweats. Neither of them were made to get dressed until around 11:45. I figure, when your child is sick, it is not the time to argue or worry about fashion. So, let your child wear his/her jammies, favorite raggedy old shirt, or soft and cozy sweats. Looking perfect will not heal them, so let them be messy and comfy.
Let me know if you have a great way to soothe/comfort a sick child!