It has happened! You have received the emergency shreak in the middle of the night from your child's room and as you reach their bedside you can already feel the heat from their feverish little body. You know that school is not allowed for tomorrow but you also have learned that the medicine will have kicked in by 8 am and they will be feeling fine and looking for entertainment. What is a sleep deprived parent to do?!?!?!
1. Start with an Expectation Exchange.
Alter ideas of accomplishment. Consciously exchange the prior planned chores or to-do list for some relational goals to redeem the time. Turn your attention to connecting during this extra time you would not have otherwise.
2. Use some forethought to create traditions.
People in a family are going to get sick. It will happen -repeatedly- use the repetition to your advantage! Save one of each child's favorite movie (a series is great because those can go with a 3 day virus); keep it separate from other movie choices only to be watched on a sick day. Do the same with a few picture books and if you are extra creative, make a silly face scrapbook of all the kids for eliciting healing laughter on sick days. Read the same books each sick day. Some choices could include The Blue Day Book for Kids, Alexander and the Terrible, horrible, No-good, Very Bad Day, and Riot Brother chapter books by Mary Amotto's. Read even to teens; they may roll their eyes a little but it will get those endorphins pumping and help them heal.
Setting a timer & administering 5 -10 ml of water from a small medicine cup is better every 10-20 minutes than drinking an entire bottle. Keeping a water bottle nearby the child is recommended but keeping track of those ml doses is even more crucial for a speedy recovery-especially with a stomach virus! If using the schedule formula below, drink from the medicine cup in each transition from one activity to another.
4. Wash hands often!
Have special "sick" bottle of hand soap. It is hard when you are little and feel puny to stand on a stool. However it is crucial to wash hands after any trips to the bathroom with sickness. To facilitate more consistent hand-washing for little children, place "sick" soap at the outer rim of bathtub. This also keeps them from sharing the sink and regular soap with other family members to hopefully decrease the spreading of germs.
5. Create a general schedule for all sick days and keep it on hand.
Keeping the schedule posted in the medicine cabinet or in a phone note is great so you don't have to create it each time. Remember to hydrate from the medicine cup with each transition. Hear is a sample framework:
- Eat breakfast if possible
- Transition to somewhere besides bed like a mat or couch in family room (preferably with a bit of sunlight)
- Search for some "preschool or elementary seasonal jokes" to get in some laughter
- Read a book together ---Rest 20-30 minutes
- Do some stretches -- Rest 20-30 minutes
- Play a game (I Spy if can't lift head; Board game/puzzle if need to stay seated; sock ball toss, hot potato or target throw if have energy)
- Lunch if possible. -- Rest or movie
- Squeeze activity for restlessness (i.e. stress ball, play doh, Legos)
- 5 more stretches
- 5 minute clean and straighten to get mat straight and ready for that infamous possible afternoon/evening fever
- Sit outside, maybe have a snack in the sun for Vitamin D. --Rest
- Supper if possible -- TV with the family
PLA well to recover!