Spring brings lots of beautiful flowers, green grass, and ALLERGIES! When the little ones are sick, late nights and early mornings make life tough. But what happens when Mom or Dad is down for the count? We’ve already had a round of couching and sore throats at our house, which reminded me to share this article I wrote for BuzzFeed, about 20 ways you can entertain kids when you feel like you. can’t. even.
The article lists a bunch of great ideas to help keep kids busy, but here are a few extra pointers to keep in mind when you are down for the count:
I hope the all-caps indicates the importance of this one! Gather a few items reserved specifically for sick days, and half of the work is done for you. You may recall packing a “hospital bag” or “home birth kit” before baby came. This is important too. Grab a box or bin and fill it with age appropriate supplies. Some ideas for older kids include, new coloring books and crayons (sure you’ve got old crayons, but new crayons are the best), exciting Playdoh colors in neon or sparkle, fun activites from the dollar store kid isle. Little ones are a bit harder, so make a few busy bags in advance. This site shares 15 ideas that are easy to put together–from lacing cards to sensory bottles.
Age aside, all kids love new things. Make a little grab bag of small new toys. Pull one out in these kinds of emergency situations, and hopefully you can get an hour or two of peace. When the kids get too many toys for a holiday or their birthday, I like to put a few away (they never remember) and pull those out when needed.
2. Hire a cleaning service.
Look, when the main caretaker is out of it, kids will take advantage of everything they can. For me, that means my house is going to be a mess. This stresses me out. Sometimes, for the sake of sanity, we have to spend a couple dollars. It seems indulgent at first, but you cannot put a price on sanity. You might even recover faster if you are not stressed about the details. Look on Groupon or Amazon Local for deals on a cleaning service. I’ve seen them as cheap as $39 for two hours of service. Relax. Let the kids have fun and play. Hire someone to help clean up.
3. Ask for help.
The article suggests calling a lifeline. This is really important. When you need help, you have to ask for it. And don’t wait until you are incapacitated to do so. There’s a lot to say for giving your body the care it deserves at the first signs of illness. Nip it in the bud. If you know your kids cannot entertain themselves for long, have special needs, or are still infants, call someone to help you. Hire a babysitter from UrbanSitter or Care.com if you have no one in your area. Order delivery food or ask a friend to bring dinner over. Call someone to pick up or drop off the kids at events. You’ll get them back when it’s their turn to be sick. Just ask.
4. Be mindful.
Part of early illness detection is paying attention to your own self-care. It is hard as a busy parent, but taking a tiny bit of time at the end (or whenever) of the day to check in with yourself is really important. Find yourself too stressed? Stress lowers your immunity. Here’s a test you can do to see if you are too stressed out.