10 Things to do when your little one is sick.
Sick days: every parent’s nightmare. You have to scramble to reset your day, and even worse, see your little one feeling bad. You don’t hear your little one giggling or making jokes. There’s no running around or squeals while playing games. Hiding somewhere under the blankies is your usually healthy kid.
Although you hate seeing your little learner in a less than sunny mood, sick days give you the chance to bring out your top nurturing parent tools. Check out these ideas for comforting children 0-5 through sickness with lots of love and fun.
1. Draw together.
Bring notebooks to bed and have your little one express their ideas on paper. Getting arty helps them get their mind off their sickness. Ask them to tell you about what they draw —the attention will comfort them. If they’re up for it, give them funny prompts. If lots of creativity feels too taxing, offer a box of crayons and a coloring book. Encourage them to add funny faces to the coloring book pages.
2. Make a fort.
Forts provide the perfect defense strategy from brightly lit rooms, siblings and loud neighbors. Grab some blankets or sheets and drape them over furniture. While you build a cozy fort together, let your little one be in charge of design. Then, fill your fort with their favorite books and snacks for extra comfort.
3. Read books.
Fort or no fort, books are one of the best ways to steer your little learner’s thoughts from feeling icky to an amazing story. Help them engage in the story by asking them to predict what will happen next. Ask them what they think about certain situations or what they would have done instead. If they are not up for reading, choose books with great illustrations they can enjoy while turning the pages.
4. Tell them the story of the day you became a family.
“Once upon a time, there was a little child named Dylan who came into our lives. And we loved them from that very first day.” Do you have a family story? Tell them about how they came into your life. Then share how special your family is now for having them in it. Ask your little one what they remember and to tell you their favorite family memories.
5. Show them photos of their family members.
Do you have family membersor friends who live far away? This is a great time to tell your little one about the grown-ups in their lives who they don’t get to see very often. Show them photos. Then, tell them stories about these people. If Aunt Carly is available, try a phone call! You may just brighten two days after a little surprise chat.
6. Make crafts together.
Gather empty containers, cereal boxes, toilet paper tubes and masking tape. Now, use your imagination and create something together! For more age-specific, easy-to-do activities, check out our activity pages.
7. Listen to music.
Just listening to music alone has great benefits! It helps us reduce stress and improve our moods — and it can even improve our sleep quality. Choose calm tunes or let your little one pick the music and wear your headphones.
8. Play doctor.
Learning about self-care begins at home. Try modeling what “taking care of myself” looks like while addressing your little one’s symptoms: brush your teeth together and gargle for a sore throat; wash your hands after sneezing; change into fresh, clean pajamas if you’ve been wearing them for too long; or run a warm bath to help clear sinuses. If they are taking medicine, tell them what it’s for. Use this helpful FDA guide for teaching little learners about taking medicine safely.
9. Watch funny videos together.
Watch otters do cute things or kittens and babies play together. Check out videos of cockatiels singing and making familiar sounds. The big laughs will improve your moods, and maybe you’ll learn a little bit about animals and nature too!
- The illness prevents the child from participating comfortably in activities as determined by staff.
- The ill child requires more care than the staff can give, which may result in compromising care for other children.
- Read more…
10. Hug time.
Big hugs can do a lot for someone who isn’t feeling well. Remind your little learner they are loved and that you are there to take care of them. More and more, research is helping us learn that physical touch is important at all stages of life. But for little ones, who are learning about who they are and who they will be, physical affection can shape a child’s happiness for life.
You are your child’s first and best teacher! Read more about your child’s physical health and growth: