When you have sick kids in your house, it is a test of your parenting skills. They feel bad. You feel bad for them. More often than not, there are some simple tips that can get you and your sick kids through this.
So how should you handle sick kids?
The first thing to remember is that it is always ok to get help. If you think your sick kids need a trip to the pediatrician or the ER, by all means, go. I spoke before about at-home choices like the heal app to bring care to you.
In most cases, you can do it all yourself. The trick may be that:
- You may lose some sleep
- You want to make sure that you do not get sick in the process
- You want to make sure that siblings do not get sick as well.
If you are a parent, you have dealt with sick kids. You have done this many times since they were babies. While it never gets easier, there are some tips I can provide that are universal.
Having sick kids can be scary. It is natural to always think the worst when your kids get sick. There is nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution.
When I have sick kids I try to think of what it is like when I am sick. I don’t go to the doctor for much more than an annual physical and a flu shot. There is not much a doctor can do for a virus.
If I start to feel awful, there is a chance I will change my tune. For me, that does not happen often.
So then how do you apply that to sick kids? When dealing with sick kids you have the disadvantage of:
- Them not wanting to go to a doctor, so they may not be forthcoming about how they are feeling
- Them not being able to use the correct language to express how they are feeling
- You dealing with them through the filter of being downright terrified
So since I have two boys who are 6 and 5, I have dealt with sick kids plenty of times. Right now my oldest has a cough and congestion that will not go away.
I have come up with some tips and tricks to get you and your sick kids through this.
“Having sick kids can be downright scary. Use these tips to ease your mind and get your sick kids on the road to recovery faster “
Get Them The Rest They Need When Kids Are Sick
Kids that are my age need a lot of sleep. This is true even when they are healthy. I try to get my kids 10 hours of sleep per night. So if it is a school night and they need to be up by 7:30 a.m. I want them out like a light by 9:30 a.m.
I have found that getting them more sleep when they are sick is not an issue. The truth is my kids tend to fall asleep during the day (if I keep them home) on their own. Then you add in the 10 hours you usually get them and you are on your way.
If your kids no longer take regular naps, it can be tough to get them to sleep during the day. If I find myself in that position my sales pitch is this:
“The sooner you sleep and get well, the sooner you can start doing _______”
The fill in the blank may be something active they like to do like playing with their friends. You are not bribing them. You are being honest. When my kids are sick I don’t let them go outside and run around. So this approach is a win-win for you and the kids.
Try putting on some calming music or play a subdued game of some kind. If possible, take a nap with them or stay with them until they fall asleep.
Keep Them Very Hydrated When Kids Are Sick
I cannot think of anytime that sick kids will not reap the benefits of being very hydrated. Heck, they should be doing that when they are well.
The problem is that when you have sick kids, they often show little interest in eating or drinking. What is worse, kids are more likely to get dehydrated when they are sick than adults.
If water does not do the trick, try things like Pedialyte, chicken broth, or even popsicles. The added bonus of these is that they may help soothe a sore throat or a stuffy nose.
Be Careful With Medicines
One thing I always go back and forth on is giving my kids medicine when they are sick. You want your kids to be as comfortable as possible when they are sick. The problem is that fever, for example, may make them a little uncomfortable. The flip side is that this is the body’s way of fighting a virus.
So unless my kids seem uncomfortable or cannot sleep, I try to stay away from breaking a fever. When I was a sick kid myself, my parents used to believe there was some magic number that made a fever dangerous.
I am not anything close to a doctor. From what I have read and from what I have heard from my pediatrician, there is no magic number. Their brains will not get damaged. There is no logic that says a fever of 102.9 is fine but 103 is an emergency.
Check with your own doctor if you have any doubts. My bet is they will tell you the same thing
Same Goes For Decongestants
For kids that are young, decongestants are not safe. For me, even as my kids get older I worry about these medicines. Why not try saline sprays. Get a humidifier for their room.
I am not saying to never use a decongestant. I am saying that using one has the feel of a $10 solution for a $0.10 problem.
Let Them Cuddle up
One thing I do with my kids is to let them sleep with me. This accomplishes several things including:
- Lets you keep a closer eye on them throughout the night
- Eases their minds at a time where fear and unease could be creeping into their thoughts
- Keeps a quiet room for healthy siblings that my sleep next to them
This can be important when they have something more than a cold, like vomiting or diarrhea. Let them cuddle up to you. This will ease their minds and make sleep easier for them.
Sleep is going to be their best medicine. Make sure they get as much as possible.
Keep Their Minds Off Of It
Of course, it is natural to let kids plop down in front of the TV on sick days home from school. While that is fine for a while, take some time to try something different.
My kids love the card game Uno. This is something that is not going to get them too tired, yet will help to pass the time. Before they know it, they may completely forget they are sick (if only for a while).
Something important to point out here though is that kids tend to feel better as the day goes. As night falls, their symptoms may get worse.
Take stock of your sick kid’s health at bedtime instead of during a game of cards in the middle of the day. That is the true test about whether sick kids are on the mend.
So when should you seek help?
There really is no good answer to this, is there? My rule of thumb is that when a child begins to exhibit signs that I cannot handle on my own, that is the time. Are they vomiting blood? Are they having trouble breathing? Have they been sick for days and days with no let-up?
Those are all good times. I would stress again, always err on the side of caution. If you think you should get professional help, GET IT!