One of the toughest experiences every parent inevitably goes through is dealing with a sick child.
Whether it’s a seasonal allergy that goes away with a simple hay fever treatment or something more serious like an infection that requires a trip to the hospital, caring for your sick child can be physically demanding, not to mention emotionally exhausting.
First, you have to deal with the mess. Sneezing, coughing and vomiting may ensue, so you need to clean up after them the whole time. When caring for and cleaning up after them, chances are these yucky parts are gonna end up on your clothes and body, too.
Then, there’s the emotional toll of seeing your child in pain. Every sneeze, cough and moans of discomfort rip a tear into a parent’s heart.
But as a parent who doesn’t want to see their child in distress, you must do everything you can to ease their misery. And we’re here to help! Below, we listed several tips and tricks to make caring for your ill child easier.
Listen to your child
One of the best things you can do for your sick child is to listen to them. Now, this doesn’t mean letting them boss you around and use their puppy dog eyes to get what they want.
Listening to them means not dismissing them when they complain about something. They might be feeling pain or discomfort from something you can’t see. They may feel uncomfortable in bed or with the clothes they’re wearing.
They aren’t going to get better if you ignore these complaints, so it’s best to listen to them and keep them as comfortable as possible.
Try steam or saline
A lot of kids still haven’t mastered the skill of blowing their noses. And when they’re sick and have stuffed sinuses, they may feel even more uncomfortable and easily irritable.
Ease their breathing by using steam or saline solution. A drop or two of saline (or salt water) in your child’s nostrils will loosen up the mucus that blocks their sinuses. Then, make sure you have a humidifier to steam up their room to ease congestion and help them sleep easier.
Keep them hydrated
It’s always important to keep kids hydrated, but even more so when they’re feeling unwell. You especially have to keep them hydrated when they have diarrhoea or are vomiting since these symptoms result in the loss of large amounts of water and salt in their bodies.
Don’t force them to drink large gulps of water, though. Even tiny sips throughout the day can be enough. If they’re sick of water, try feeding them liquid-heavy food like soup.
Encourage nutritious foods
Lack of appetite, especially for “healthy” foods, is normal when a child is sick. But if they’re willing to eat, adjust their meals to whatever nutritious food they’re craving.
Yoghurt, frozen fruit and oatmeal are some of the best tasty but nutritious foods you can feed your child when they’re sick. Fruit juices and soup are also easy to consume and can help make them feel better.
Shower them with TLC
Your worry and frustration over your child being sick mixed with the emotional and physical toll of caring for them can shorten your fuse. But keep in mind that the last thing your child needs when they are feeling under the weather is a scolding from you.
Instead of snapping at them, shower them with love and care—as long as they’re comfortable. Some children can’t bear parents who hover, and if this is your child, just let them know you’re there if they need you. Otherwise, keep your cool and be compassionate with them.
Pray with them
Having a sick child, no matter how mild or serious their illness is, puts a parent through a range of extreme emotions. The most prevalent of these are fear and worry. So, don’t forget to take time to talk to God and let Him ease your burden.
Even better, pray with your child. Let them relax and put their complete faith in Him. Doing so may help ease their discomfort and bring them peace, knowing that He is looking after them.
Take Care of Yourself
Perhaps the most important trick to caring for a child who is sick is to not forget about your own health and well-being. As parents, we tend to give our 101% to ensure our children’s safety and happiness, but we can’t continue doing that if we’re the ones who are tired.
When your child is sick, the only person they can rely on is you. So make sure to take care of yourself, too.