It is hard to have anyone in the family sick, but it’s hardest to have one, or heaven forbid, more than one child sick at a time. Illness just throws everyone off schedule and routine. And mommy’s just want to take care of those who are suffering. So, how can mommies spend their time comforting sick kids, while still getting some things done?
First, it’s important to make sure the expectations set for Mommy and child are appropriate. Generally , kids will play when they feel like playing, and rest when they need it. It’s important to respect that they are still sick, even if they are up and playing a little. And realize, while the children are sick, the housework will take second priority. The children are much more important than the dishes, laundry, and vacuuming. Plus, sick children often means extra laundry, etc.
Second, make sure the children have access to plenty of liquids – enough said. If they feel like eating as well, then give them foods they are familiar with and are easy to eat. I remember being so very sick, as an adult, and looking at the dinner I had made thinking, “I wish this could all be put in a blender, so I could drink my dinner.” I was so sick that I didn’t have the energy to chew. Sometimes, kids can feel that sick too.
Third, giving the children extra TV time, while they are sick, is okay. TV is a great way to keep children calm and resting. While I do not advocate much TV time for children, during sick days those standards should be relaxed. Don’t let them watch rowdy, crazy shows. Stick to calmer, quieter shows – or even educational programing. And try not to let them watch TV for long blocks of time. Mix up the activities the children participate in – have a story time, TV time, coloring time, rest time — then repeat the list again.
We’ve discussed how to keep children comforted while they are stick… But still how does a mommy get anything done while doing these three things? Minimize what needs to get done (part of setting appropriate expectations) and maximize your resources.
What “maximizing your resources means” is let other members of your family help or take a turn with you in the care giving. Your older children can tend the younger ones for a moment or two while you catch up on a few things. Your husband can probably make something for dinner, so let him. And, your younger children would love a chance to play nurse to their sibling who is sick.
Not everything has to be done by the mom, not everything has to be done perfectly, and really – not everything has to be done.
When dealing with a sick child or children, remember what the priority is – keeping that child (children) comfortable so that a smooth recovery can take place. The house work, yard work, projects, school, and everything else will wait.