Taking Care of Sick Children
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Raising children while feeling under the weather is a tough task. But taking care of sick children is something that I have found to be much more difficult. As a father, it is important that I’m there for my kids, even when it may be difficult. I will preface this by saying I am not a doctor, but I will suggest a few methods that have worked for me that will help your child feel comfortable as they rest and wait for their bodies to heal.
When my kids were younger and would get sick, I would almost find myself becoming scared, unsure of what to do next. So many fears would creep in. Will I get sick next? Should I sleep in my kids room for the night? Are they eating and drinking enough? What if they get a fever? I learned over the next few years that it’s okay to have these feelings and to understand that as a parent, you can do a lot to make your child feel comfortable, even when they are sick.
When your child is sick, one of the best things you can do as a parent is be right there with your child and offer yourself, emotionally. What does that look like?
- Active listening
- Check for understanding
- Show that you care and love them
This sounds simple, but I am talking about really taking the time to listen to your child. Taking care of sick children is exhausting. But would it be less exhausting if we took the time to listen to what they are telling us? I’m guilty of just nudging it off when they say “I have a sore throat” as I am scrolling through all of my social media apps. I have focused on putting down my phone, and sitting with my child to show that I am listening and I am here to help.
Check for Understanding
Providing yourself on an emotional level for your child requires you to check for understanding. This will allow you to show them that you care and confirm that you are listening to their needs. When you are taking care of sick children, it is important to show empathy and you can do that by checking for understanding.
Show That You Care and Love Them
In my opinion, this is the most important part when offering emotional support. Showing that you care and love your child when they are sick is so crucial. Sure, your little one will get whiny at times, but do your best! I know for me, my daughter really needs my love and support when she is sick. She responds really well when I just sit with her and read books to her. She loves to read and when I spend time reading with her, it helps her rest while she is sick and take her mind off of her illness for a little while.
If you are looking for a great book to read to your child when they are sick, I highly recommend the Junie B. Jones series. These books are my daughter’s FAVORITE and they provide great laughs for the whole family. She is in first grade and can read the books by herself! They are easy reads and have clean content!
Helping a Sick Toddler Sleep
I am a strong believer of teamwork in marriage and parenting. Taking care of sick children is no different. It is an event that requires both parents to be ready and willing to help each other. That teamwork especially comes into play during the night time. When your child is sick, they may need help falling asleep or even sleeping through the night. It is possible that they will wake up in the middle of the night with a fever once the medicine wears off. Or maybe they are scared to be alone while they are sick.
Every parent has their own opinion and technique with what to do in this scenario. For me, it depends on how sick they are. If we are talking about the stomach bug, my wife and i prefer to have them sleep in our room on the floor, so we can be ready with buckets when the time comes. We bought each of our children these hiccapop inflatable toddler travel beds and we LOVE them. We use them anytime we go on vacation. And for those not-so-happy sick moments.
If my child just has a head cold or a low fever or something along those lines, my wife or I may choose to sleep in their room for a little. This allows our son or daughter to fall asleep and feels safe in that moment. There is nothing better as a parent to know your child feels safe and comfortable, especially when they are sick.
Ultimately, you have to do what is best for your child. There is no perfect solution when you are taking care of sick children, but just trust your parent gut and know that this too shall pass!