Sick Days

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In the last few weeks I have had all my kids home sick at some point. They were so healthy all year and then this last month the wheels fell off. One tummy bug, one case of strep, and one with a fever. After a decade or so of taking care of sick kids I have found these tricks help get us back on our feet sooner.

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Sick day home with kids

Get to the doctor early

If you think that your child needs to be evaluated by a medical provider call first thing in the morning. This is your best chance of getting an early appointment and diagnosis quickly. If they need a prescription medication or other over the counter medications from the pharmacy it is better to get started early in the day. If you are not sure if you should take your child in, it’s always worth a call. Most pediatricians offices have a triage nurse that can help you assess the situation.

Keep a sick day bin on hand

I keep a container in the laundry room with everything we need so I’m not digging around in random cabinets with a sick child who needs attention or just wants to be held. I usually keep it stocked with:

Making it through the day

Keep it simple. Quiet activities like board games, puzzles and crafts are always favorites. If they seem to be doing okay I try to get an extra house project done like cleaning out the pantry or doing some extra laundry. I sneak this in under the guise of playing grocery store or making forts out of sheets and towels. We also let our usual screen time limits slide on these days. If you need to do some work for home try to schedule that for their nap or screen time when you will hopefully have the fewest interruptions. If my kids are are no longer napping I try to do whatever might be most helpful to get them to nap (car ride, stroller ride, laying down with them for a bit). For fussy/grumpy kids try a bath or going outside- these changes in scenery/ sensation usually help them feel better.

Take care of yourself

It really hit me when my first born and I were sick together at home for the first time. If you get sick as the parent- unless your spouse can stay home from work to help with the kids (and take care of you!) there’s not really a break! As sweet and cuddly as your little ones can be the fact that you are sick does not change their need for diaper changes, meals, snacks, or attention. Taking care of a sick kid when you also feel bad is just hard. On the days your child is sick try to rest when they rest and make sure you are staying hydrated and getting nourishing foods too.

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