The crisp fall air has started to take hold and the leaves have finally started to change. Fall seemed to take it’s time in St. Louis this year, but once it was ready it came in full force. We quickly switched from 80 degree days to 60 degree days and with the return of the cooler weather came our first seasonal illness. Sure, summer brought on a little stomach bug and an ear infection but nothing compared to what winter can hold.
Last year we faced a variety of illnesses that sidelined us and left me grappling with what to do at home with two toddlers. We are hoping for a better winter this year but unfortunately my little thumb sucker goes out into the world and puts it all into his mouth…yuck! With the promise of some illnesses entering our home, I have begun to implement better coping mechanisms to ensure that these sick days are more manageable for me and less-tantrum inducing for all involved.
Here are some of our tips for how we survive sick days in our house:
1. Drink All the Coffee: Illness for my kids has always meant frequent night waking. Last weekend when my boys weren’t feeling well, I was up a total of 11 times. That is more than I was up with a newborn and particularly hard for a mom two years out of practice! I make a big pot of coffee or treat myself to my favorite latte and shamelessly drink as much as I want.
2. Keep Mealtime and Food Selection Flexible: We turn to eating at various times of the day and sometimes in various places. Picnics on the basement floor are a great way to get my sick kids to eat something. I allow them to eat just about anything while limiting sugar and any belly ache inducing foods. If it sounds good, give it to them and try not to focus on the actual meal too much.
3. Get Everyone Outside: If the weather allows and the kids are well enough, we always go outside when they are a bit under the weather. I take them on walks or into the backyard. Fresh air is so good for them and the stroller is still a great way to rest.
4. Netflix and Library Movies: I’ve loved pulling out my old favorite Disney movies or taking to the library for a few random shows. Rest on the couch is necessary and so much easier with something new to keep their attention.
5. Accept Help from Others: When my youngest was just four months old, my 23-mont-old got serum sickness which left him in excruciating pain and unable to walk. It was easy to welcome the help as I tried to manage a very sick little boy and a newborn. Sometimes I forget I can accept that help with small illness too, even for a quick trip to the store or an extra hand during the day.
6. Take them on Car Rides: I love to give my boys a snack and take them for a ride in the car. We will drive through Lone Elk Park to look for animals or just around town to find the best holiday decorations. They love these activities and it is something less demanding on me during those long needy days.
7. Remember That This Too Shall Pass: The longest days and nights include sleepless, overtired and cranky sick kids. Although health can feel like an eternity ago, it is so important to remember that this too shall pass. It can be so easy to feel like the illness goes on forever when you are just trying to survive and cope the best you can.
I know I have been blessed with fairly healthy kids and I do not take that for granted. However, I also know that it is so easy to become overwhelmed and exhausted when my boys are sick. These tips have helped me to learn how to survive and maintain sanity during those sick days that are inevitable during the winter months ahead.