Raising babies is no walk in the park, and that’s on a good day. When your little one is sick, it’s just a whole new ball game.
In just three years, I have nursed everything from an average cold to post surgery complications with my son. And although there were times when I thought it would never end, there were many things I did to help get me through the days that were tough for him.
Regardless of what your child is going through, here are some tips to help you, help them get through those sick days and keep your sanity at the same time.
1. Don’t panic. Children sense your fear and anxiety and this can be confusing and add discomfort. Apart from that, its difficult for you to think about what needs to be done when you are panicking – sometimes decisions need to be made quickly and if you’re panicking, it can hinder your ability to make the right decision.
2.Keep your cool. be patient – children who are under the weather are a lot more cranky, but it’s not because they are testing you, they are not well when they are still young, it’s difficult to express themselves in any other way except for whining and complaining – even some adults do that, so give a kid a break.
3. Drop everything. You will need to do this, at least for a little more time than usual. You will need to give them time and patience and I have learned from experience that when you try to do all your usual things and take care of a sick child – you’re only setting yourself up for more anxiety.
4. Pay attention. As a parent, you will know all your child’s usual behaviour, pay attention to their cues and get on top of things as quickly as you can. I’m not saying administer cold medicine when they sneeze, but pay attention to how a day unfolds after those sneezes, they usually love their dinner but are cringing at the site of it – if they are not a fussy eater, they could have a tummy ache.
5. Clean, sanitize and disinfect. It’s important to clean and sanitize all the time with a young child but so much more when someone is sick to prevent others from getting sick too. Change bedding often to get rid of the nasty bugs and plus sleeping in a clean fresh bed just feels better.
6. Talk to other parents. Each child is different but it helps to talk to other parents who might be going through similar experiences, it helps you feel like you are not alone dealing with an illness you might have no idea about and others might have some helpful tips to offer.
7. Trust your gut. The amount of times I have said ‘I have a bad feeling about this’ – and been right makes me think I have some kind of magic power – but it’s more likely due to the gut instinct a parent has for their child and see no. 4 above.
8. Keep emergency numbers handy. The last thing you want to be doing after a long restless night or while your child is crying in pain is having to shuffle through things to look for the doctors number. Yes we all have phones to store numbers in but it’s a useless tool if you don’t actually take a minute to save the number to your phone.
9. Medication. After consulting with a doctor, you might be given some medications to give to your little one. When they’re really young, it’s hard to administer certain drugs so they are usually in liquid form. In our house, syringes are used daily and on a regular basis. Do what is good for you and your little one so they can get their meds and get better.
10. Toys. Keep the special lovies and toys close, or read a special book to help them feel a little better. Also have toys and games they can play with if they are too sick to get out of bed. What’s worse than a sick kid? A bored sick kid!
11. Juices and healthy foods for others at home. Before you know it, you may be overcome by a tidal wave of coughs and sneezes. Stock up on loads of chicken soup, fruits and vegetables and healthy snacks to build up everyone’s immune system.
12. Help from family and friends. Family and friends are there to help and you need your rest if you want to be well enough to care for your child. So take some time for yourself to re-charge and re-energize.
And here is a Kid Care Checklist of our favourite things to have at home for those times when our little one is feeling under the weather or forgets there is a sofa in the middle of the room and just runs into it.