No matter how prepared you feel you are for the day ahead, when you wake up on a morning to find that you have a sick child, all of your plans go out of the window. No matter how healthy and lively they were when you tucked them into bed last night now they are hot with a fever, sickly and thoroughly miserable.
A sickly child is hard enough to contend with, but once the major bout of sickness has passed, even though they are feeling a little better they are still too ill to go to school. Instead they wander around the home bored, they are too wide eyed to sleep but not well enough to be taken anywhere, so what can you do?
Home Based Activities
There are plenty of activities that the kids can be engaged in that will keep them out of your hair and stop them moaning about being bored all the time. So they may not be well enough to go outside and play, or do anything too energetic, there are still plenty of other things that can keep them occupied and entertained. To get you started, think about all of the thing that you used to do as a kid, the rainy day activities that we used to occupy ourselves with before we had a stack of DVD’s and computer games to fall back on.
• Dig out the oldest photograph album that you can find, from before the kids were born and see if they can identify you in the pictures. Show them how you used to live when you were a child, and what life was like before they were born.
• Remember all of those magazines that you never got around to throwing away? Pick a theme, it could be ‘clothes’, ‘food’ for ‘Places I want to go’ and make a collage out of images and articles cut from the pages of the magazines.
• Curl up on the sofa and watch a film together, complete with snacks if they are up to eating.
• Read together. Find a favourite book and read chapters out loud to each other, just as you read to them when they were very small. Make sure you remember to add the character voices too!
Raid the Toy Box
There are probably a load of puzzles and games in their bedrooms that have never seen the light of day since they originally received them, so dig them out and start playing some games.
• Dig out all of the jigsaws they have and work through them all together, not only will it pass a couple of hours, you will also get all of the pieces back in the right boxes, and know if any of them are missing or not.
• Play some board games. We always buy our kids board games thinking that they will play them together, but we know fine will that they will never make it out of the box unless we play the games with them. This is a great opportunity for showing the kids just how much fun a board game can actually be.
• Make a fort. Who doesn’t love playing in a make believe fort? You can either use a simple pop up tent or rearrange your furniture and use some old sheets and cushions to make you perfect hideaway.
Age & Illness Related Activities
Depending on their age, and just how unwell your child or children are, there are probably some activities that they should stay away from, such as food handling etc. Plus if they are very young you don’t really want them in the kitchen at all.
• Get Baking. If you do decide to create a batch of cookies or cupcakes together make sure that all hands are washed thoroughly before you start. There is no need to make anyone else ill.
• Get some fresh air. No one enjoys being stuck inside when they are ill, they may not be well enough to go out to play but they will probably be able to manage a gentle walk with mum. The gentle exercise and fresh air should make them feel a little better, plus it may just stop you going stir crazy with them too.
• Use technology. One of the worst things for your child when they are stuck at home ill is that they can’t talk to their friends, so although their friends may not be able to come over try and let them talk to each other. There is no need to rack up the phone bill either as communication tools like Skype allows them to speak online for free.
Things to Remember
Just because your child is ill it doesn’t mean that they will be content to spend the day in bed, and just because they are up and around it doesn’t mean that they are going to enter into any activity willingly, they will probably moan and gripe about whatever you suggest as they will be feeling very sorry for themselves. It is down to you to get them interested in an activity, and up to you to keep that interest alive. Children often have short attention spans, and when they are ill it becomes even shorter, so always have a backup plan if your first activity doesn’t go too well.
Sleep is often the best medicine, so when they look like they are flagging suggest that they have a nap. Don’t just send them to bed as they may feel as though you are dismissing them. Place a pillow and a blanket on the sofa so that they can get comfy in front of the TV and just nod off when they need to. They should sleep just long enough for you to get your breath back and decide what to do when they wake up again!