School Year Survival Guide: Nursing Sick Kids Back to Health

Caroline
October 10, 2012

Nothing makes a parent feel more helpless than having a sick child at home. And while parents can call and have their child seen by a pediatrician, most of the time they have to sit by and wait for that particular virus or infection to run its course. Is there anything parents can do in the meantime? Of course. Here are some parenting tips to help you nurse your sick little one back to health.

Call the doctor. If you are concerned about your child's health, always call your pediatrician. But sometimes children get nervous about seeing the doctor so plan something special for them to look forward to afterwards. For example, you could promise to rent their favorite movie or pick up a yummy (and nutritious) smoothie on the way home.

Be prepared. Sick kids need supplies. Be sure to have on hand plenty of tissues, toilet paper, antibacterial wipes, covered cups with straws, fluids, crackers, clean towels, clean sheets, clean pajamas and any medications that your doctor prescribes or recommends. But you might consider investing in a new sticker book or grab a new box of crayons and coloring book. It will cheer your patient up and help pass the time at home.

Push fluids. Assuming the child's pediatrician agrees, encouraging fluids may be the most important thing a parent can do for their child. So make it fun by giving them a special cup or straw. Make marks on the cup and give them a sticker every time they pass a mark. Make popsicles or slushies and use uniquely shaped ice cube trays to keep those fluids fun.

Reconsider food.  Depending on the illness, children's diets may change. In fact, some children don't feel like eating much at all. Children with an upset stomach might need a blander BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) diet. Fun shaped crackers, frozen bananas and toast cut with cookie cutters might keep it interesting. However this might also be the time to let your child pick what tastes good to them - even if that means pancakes for dinner.

Get cozy. It's time to push aside the usual routine, and let your child get comfortable in their favorite spot. Whether it's on the couch or in Mommy's bed, let them make a cozy nest of pillows, stuffed animals and blankets. Just make sure their animals are washable and use towels or old blankets in case of sick tummies. Then snuggle in and read lots of books together, maybe replay their baby videos, or get out their favorite board games to pass the time.

Naptime needs.  Nothing heals a body like a good night of sleep. But if your sick child has been up at night vomiting or suffering through a cold, sleep might be hard to come by. So do what you can to provide a quiet, soothing, low lit room to encourage napping during the day.

Don't share the love. While your child suffers, it is up to you to keep the rest of the household from suffering too. It's time to do extra laundry, push the "sanitize" button on the dishwasher and wipe everything down. Encourage your child to sneeze into the crook of his or her arm and be sure they wash their hands whenever they can. Preventing those germs from spreading can be a challenge but it's important to make the effort nevertheless.

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