Hubby is a teacher. That means, among other things, that he brings home a LOT of bugs that his students are generous enough to share. Between that and the fact that Man Cub likes to lick things (I’m hoping it’s a phase), we get sick with an annoying frequency. We’ve come up (after much practice) with a few strategies for sick days that can make them a little more bearable.
How we handle when Man Cub is sick:
- Rules still apply. Just because he is sick does not mean he can get away with being a terror. Hitting, pulling on the cat, and yelling are still punishable by a time out. I do keep in mind that tantrums may be because he’s not feeling well and try to be extra patient.
- Lite/No school. Depending on how badly he’s feeling, do lite school (sometimes the activity can distract him and help) or forget about school altogether and just settle in for snuggles, books, and a little TV.
- Some TV is allowed. We only allow TV on sick days and for haircuts (when it is essential that he sit still). Most days I try to limit it to one 30 minute episode a day, but on truly miserable days I’ll confess that we may do a short movie. I’m very particular about what TV we allow Man Cub to watch. It has to be gentle in theme and animation- too much rapid movement or flashing lights can overstimulate and it must not be violent (old Looney Tunes are disqualified for this). Right now, he can watch Doc McStuffins, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and some Veggie Tales. The only movies he can watch are Horton Hears a Who and Veggie Tales Jonah.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Usually Man Cub drinks mostly water, a little milk, and nothing else. But when he is sick the most important thing is to keep him hydrated, so he can have as much milk as he can drink, and some juice (I use 100% fruit juice, dilute half & half with water and limit to 1-2 small cups a day- too much sugar is still bad for him).
- Relax about food. Normally I have a strict “eat what I cook or not at all” rule. I’m not a short order cook, and if he doesn’t want what’s for dinner he can have his cherrios. He doesn’t starve and I don’t go crazy. But today he is sick, and asked for eggs for dinner, so he got them. I don’t give him nothing but cookies, but if he has a healthy request I try to give it to him. I also remember that loss of appetite is normal, and if he doesn’t want to eat at all I don’t stress about it unless he stops drinking, too.
- Lots of rest, cuddles and attention. I try to get Man Cub to nap more than he usually does and put off my own tasks when possible so I can give him all the cuddles and attention he needs. He is such a busy little guy that I usually don’t get cuddles, so this is my silver lining.
- Use & track medicine use. We use infant tylenol and cold medicine and will begin using child-safe essential oils soon. It is vital to not overdose or give medicine too quickly, so I made a chart to keep track of it all. It contains a place to write not only medicines, but also temperatures, doctor visits, symptoms, and more. You can download it for free here: Sick Day Notes or subscribe below to download an editable Word version so you can pre-print your child’s name and frequently used medicines.
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When mom is the one sick
- Lite/No school. Depending on how badly I’m feeling, we’ll do lite school or forget about school altogether and just settle in for snuggles, books, and a little TV. I typically cut out the teacher-intensive activities first and do our daily things (outdoor time, music, etc) if I’m up to it.
- Some TV is allowed. I went over the guidelines for TV above, but if I can barely move I’ll let Mr. Rogers or Bob & Larry help out for a bit.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Moms don’t get sick days, so it’s crucial that I take care of myself. I try to remember to drink as much water and orange juice as I can.
- Use medicine when needed. Another way I take care of myself is taking things that will help. I take echinacea and use essential oils (lemon, frankincense, rosemary, and lavender) whenever I get sick. I try not to take pain relievers for every little thing, but if I’m really out of it Alieve will usually keep me vertical for as long as I need to be.
- Mom naps when the kid naps. Normally I work on various tasks during Man Cub’s naps, but when I’m sick I know I need to rest whenever I can. Of course, knowing and doing are two very different things, and this is the hardest part for me, but I’m working on it.
- Housework takes a backseat. I have a schedule that keeps the house running pretty smoothly as long as I follow it faithfully. I normally have no problem keeping up, but when I’m sick the laundry and dishes pile up. And THAT’S OKAY. While I normally love my clean house, when I’m sick it has to not be a priority. I catch up eventually, and so far the world hasn’t ended- even when there are more dirty dishes than clean or we get our laundry from a basket instead of the closet.
So there you have it. How do you handle sick days?
Want that free download again? Here it is: Sick Day Notes
Or subscribe below to download an editable Word version.