It’s almost the beginning of winter. Kids and parents alike are starting to get sick. The runny noses can be seen, the coughs heard, parents can be found at the medical centres with their little ones. This last week my household has been full of illness. I’ve come through the other side and I thought I’d share how we can manage to stay calm (and sane) during the illness season.
Kids get sick. Young kids get sick a lot! If they’re at daycare or preschool (especially if it’s their first year) it can seem like they’re always sick! It does get better. As their immune system develops and they create more antibodies they will get sick less frequently.
Sick kids also suck! Apart from watching our little ones suffer (which is never good), coping with the extra demands can be exhausting for parents. Kids who don’t feel well can be more whingy, they can tantrum more because they’re feeling more fragile, unable to sleep as soundly because of blocked noses / sinuses or a horrible cough. Fevers, chills, aching, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, all of it can combine to create a child that is extra emotional, extra clingy and extra demanding.
This can be hard work and extra draining for parents, especially if they’ve got more than one child or perhaps are even feeling like they are getting sick themselves.
How can we cope? How can we practice calm parenting and remain patient and gentle with our kids when faced with the extra stress of a sick child?
1. Stay Healthy
This is the time to practice good hygiene! Wash your hands regularly, throw out tissues, wipe down surfaces, clean pillowcases frequently.
Take a multivitamin, vitamin C, get daily fresh air. Go to bed early, take some ‘me’ time to rest and rejuvenate.
2. Get the flu vaccine
Vaccines are one of the most well researched medical interventions. I am not here to debate vaccinations. From 2018, the FluVax has been recommended for children. If you are not comfortable giving the vaccine to your children, then at least get it for yourself. It’s much easier to look after sick kids when you’re not sick. And as always, talk to your GP about the immunizations that are suitable for you and your family.
3. Stay home if you are sick and keep away from those who are sick
Now is the time to refuse visitors and unnecessary playdates. Don’t go over to other’s houses if you are sick. It is simply rude and inconsiderate to purposely expose others to illness if it’s not completely necessary.
4. Take the pressure off yourself.
When the kids are sick if the kitchen is a bit messy or the laundry remains unfolded it’s okay. Expecting yourself to live up to your expectations of what you can achieve when everyone is healthy is unreasonable and can place unnecessary guilt on yourself. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Your time is best spent looking after the kids AND yourself so that the illness period doesn’t go for any longer than it has to. You’ll always be able to catch up when everyone is well.
Staying a calm and gentle parent when you’re under the pump can be extra hard when dealing with the added stress of illness. By following the above steps you won’t be running on empty and in turn, you’ll be able to be the type of mum you want to be. As cliche as it sounds, always remember that this too shall pass.
Detailed information about managing colds and flu in children can be found via Factsheets on the Sydney Children’s Hospital Networks Website or by calling Health Direct on 1800 022 222.
As always, please avoid taking health advice from Facebook. Take everything with a grain of salt and consult your healthcare professional with any questions.