Sickness and Health

There’s nothing worse than when your child is sick. One minute, you’re tearing along at break neck speed, ticking things off the list, and next you’re sitting in a consult room doing your best to keep it together. Suddenly the deadlines and emails mean nothing.

I remember calling my sister in tears the first time my eldest child was properly sick (whooping cough) and telling my somewhat perturbed brother-in-law tearfully that if I’d known what it was like when children got sick, I wouldn’t have had any. (A combination of watching your child struggle for breath and sleep deprivation tends to have that effect).

But inevitably kids do get sick. It’s never nice and you’re never ready. We’ve had a few good winters but this one has been one of those test of character ones forcing me to take a step back and focus all my energy into one small person’s well-being.

Now we’re home and settled into the recuperation phase, here’s some tips for getting well:

  • Be assertive with experts – double check instructions before you leave a clinic.
  • Never leave a hospital/clinic/surgery before you’re both ready and comfortable to leave.
  • Don’t use rest time to catch up on work . You need to keep a close watch on the patient and yourself given you’re probably tired and a bit stressed too.
  • Hydrate. Energy drinks, water, juice, milo, milk just keep them drinking.
  • Set up your bed or (if you have a one), a bed in a spare room for resting or make a bed on the couch. Sleep is important for sick children.
  • Offer small servings of food often  – now isn’t the time for arguments about what’s on the plate. Have old towels and ice cream containers handy in case they’re having trouble keeping food down.
  • Smoothies are great. After they’ve finished meds, add pro-biotics to help re-balance the system.
  • Screen time – half the usual time you allow. Instead try audio books or click here for some story collections on the fabulous Radio NZ website.
  • Ask older kids to read to younger kids – novelty factor
  • Classic viewing – try Labyrinth, Jumangi, Lemony Stricket’s Unfortunate Series of Events, The Bridge to Terebithia, Mary and Max for primary school aged kids or some musicals such as Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins, Oliver Twist or Annie for younger kids. For animation with a message try Wall E or 9 for older kids.
  • Snuggle up with them  – as they get better, they’ll get bored but not if you’re there to chat about the film/story/book/game.
  • Plus one day – when you think they’re right (or they say they are) add another day of rest. Too often kids go back to school only to relapse before the week’s end.
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