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Everyone with children knows the drill when kids start school again:
Any time the weather starts to dip or kiddos go back to school it almost inevitably means we can expect to see some bugs spreading around through the schools, especially as we get further towards winter. Schools are, after all, like petri dishes where bugs and germs are cultivated and shared between classmates.
However, even if your child should find themselves needing to take a sick day, that doesn’t mean that their day is wasted.
As much as we (and they) know that they should be resting in bed while they recuperate, this is easier said than done if they get restless. They’re not going to be sleeping all day… but you don’t want them to spend all day in front of the TV either.
Here are some enjoyable and rewarding sick day activities that’ll help them feel better, help you feel better and ensure that even though they’re not able to get to school their day isn’t wasted.
(If you want to cut to the chase, you can also skip to the end to download my guide to keeping toddlers entertained indoors. It’s saved my mommy-butt more times than I can count.)
Fruits and veggies are full of wonderful phytochemicals which can help kids to fight off illnesses and keep their bodies operating at peak efficiency. Help them load up on nourishing fruits while also teaching them some key facts about nutrition.
Make up some delicious fruit kabobs (maybe make up some peanut butter dipping sauce too). Then print out some fruit facts. If your kid manages to match a fact with a fruit, they get a delicious fruit kabob. They can learn a little something while the healing benefits of fruits get to work on their illness.
It’s also great to feed them (more than normal) because kids usually sit still when they’re eating, which helps them recover as well.
They might not be in school, but your kid can still take some time to build their fine motor skills while sick.
Head on down to CraftDirect or your local Michaels and find a craft kit that will help you to make something that they can keep in their room. Every time they look at it, they’ll think of the fun memories they shared with you, and how you were able to make them feel better when they got sick.
Also, if you let them get a little extra dirty/painty/whatever you can pair this with a nice long, hot, recuperative bath or shower that will help clear out their little sinuses. Win, win.
If your little one isn’t quite feeling up to getting up and moving, why not take this opportunity to read them a story?
Story time is an invaluable tool for helping them to build an active and fertile imagination. What’s more, it’ll also help them stay still or even nap. Also, my kiddos get super, extra needy when they’re not feeling well, so the physical contact that comes with story-time cuddles will be just what the metaphorical doctor ordered.
Even kids love to be pampered.
If they’re feeling sick and suffering from blocked and sore sinuses, a hot bath can be a real tonic. Give them a little quality time in the tub with plenty of bubbles. The steam will help to clear their sinuses. What’s more, when they get out of the tub, their core temperature will drop sharply, which may help them to get back to sleep if they’ve been kept awake by a fever.
It's encoded in the primal DNA of a child to love small enclosed spaces.
Don't ask me why. Because science.
If you have extra cardboard boxes, blankets, umbrellas, or pretty much anything else that can be piled, stacked, or hidden under, your kid will love building a fort when they're under the weather. This also gives them a great place to hide and play in a stationary way. If you're lucky, they might actually content under there. I have a serious photo montage of my daughter's sleeping various boxes throughout her childhood. This one is a definite crowd-pleaser.
You don't want your kids watching movies all the time, but a sick day is actually a great opportunity to let go of the reins a little bit.
Grab some blankets, fill large sippy cup full of orange juice, and grab some healthy snacks. Let your kiddos pick the movie and create a home theater day for them. You can switch over to your TV shows in 15 minutes once they've fallen asleep on top of you anyway.
I know it's tempting to be put out that your coveted work time is being stolen by your kid being out of school, but try to take this as an opportunity for some don't free bonding time with them.
These activities will help you turn a negative day around and help create positive memories… all while helping you to preserve your sanity.
And don't forget to check out my free guide for indoor activities. it has literally hundreds of things you can do with your kids all without leaving your house.
Founder | Contributor
Liz is a wife, mom, blogger, coder (and unabashed digital nerd), PhD student (and huge psychology geek), workout masochist, and occasional human being. She founded The Stay Sane Mom after marrying into the role of stepmom to a preteen girl (and Instagram addict) and shortly thereafter having her first bio kid (now a toddlernado supreme). Her goal is to provide tools and support to help other capable, sleep-deprived, soul-hungry moms master their domains so they have the time and energy to be more than just 'mom'.
Stay Sane Mom gives support to the over-worked, under-slept, marker-stained, soul-hungry moms of the world, so they can be more than just "mom".
You just want to keep the house clean, have a happy marriage, raise functional kids, and still have a little left in the tank to be a real person as well.
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