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Staying Positive and Having Fun with Sick Kids

A man holding a young baby.
A man holding a young baby.

It seems like this has been a long and hard sick season! Whether you’re a parent to young children or a child care provider, I’m sure you have been hit with your fair share of colds and coughs. For myself, as both a parent and an early childhood teacher, I feel like it’s either I’m stuck at home with sick kids or I’m at school missing half of my class!

As I was sitting at home with my sick daughter TWICE in one month, it inspired this blog post. I thought I would share how I keep myself positive as well as her engaged yet rested when we’re hunkered down at home.

I’m sure you all know the drill, if you want to take care of others you have to make sure you are taken care of first, or at least some time throughout the day. I think it’s important that before you take care of sick children you try to prepare yourself as much as you can. This might mean getting up a little earlier to have a few minutes alone, having that extra cup of tea or coffee hot ready, and planning for a break or some you time at some point throughout the day. If you’re sick along with your kid, aim for the same things but you might as well rest as much as you can, too!

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas

  1. Have a slow and cozy morning. We all get so used to the daily hustle and bustle. I think it’s okay for everyone to slow down and relish in the season of cold and sickness. Have a pajama party, a morning tea party, put some calm music on, and just take it easy.

  2. Switch things up! Sometimes we do something so different like take a warm bubble bath first thing in the morning. My daughter thinks it’s so great and it’s honestly just something that’s good for her body and mind when she’s sick!

  3. Ask your child/children what they would love to do for a sick day at home. They may have great ideas for things you don’t normally do but would be amazing for a day when everyone is resting and relaxing.

  4. Get a little fresh air. It’s hard when it’s so cold outside but even a cracked window can be good for any respiratory stuff or for clearing the mind. If my daughter isn’t too miserable, I will bundle her up and get her outside even if it’s only ten minutes.

  5. Get creative. Crafting can be a very quiet and calming activity. We’ve recently got into watercolor painting and it’s something my daughter will sit and engage with for a long time. Using a watercolor palette is a learning curve, but once they get it down it’s a lovely activity for them. Cutting, gluing, stamps, etc., can all be good and calming activities. Cutting and gluing can be beautiful process art, it doesn’t have to have a purpose!

  6. Take care of your body but make it fun! Make new flavors of tea or a new kind of smoothie. Put your smoothie in a bowl with a spoon and make it fancy, let your child be in charge of the toppings. Find new recipes for dinner ideas together. You could watch videos about food preparation and how to make a special sickness soup!

  7. Make plans and talk about all the wonderful things you’ll do when everyone is healthy. Remember fun activities you did or have done, looking through old pictures can take a good chunk of time and can be another way to sneak in extra quiet time.

  8. Let your child/children do something helpful to everyone. Things still need to get done even when people are sick. Dishes need done, food needs made, etc. Your child can play in a sink full of bubbles and help “wash” dishes, spray a water/vinegar mixture on tables and walls to help you clean, cut up something easy like cheese or bread.

A woman and a girl toddler holding a white teddy bear smiling at each other.
A woman and a girl toddler holding a white teddy bear smiling at each other.

The major point here is that everyone needs to keep their mood up even when our bodies are down for the count. These are a few easy ways to do that. Children love something new and exciting even when it doesn’t seem like something that would excite them. Remember to make time for yourself and do things that you enjoy, too. Quiet days with sick kids can be the perfect time for new activities and memories.


Meghan is a born and raised Montanan, mama to a rambunctious toddler and a bonus mom to two amazing preteens. She recently earned a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education. In addition to her position as an Early Childhood Specialist at the University of Montana, Meghan enjoys a variety of odd mix of jobs; nannying, creating and selling travel play dough kits, making essential oil blends for kids, providing families with child guidance on Facebook and Instagram, and now providing ideas and tips to child care providers in partnership with Raise Montana! Meghan is also a content contributor for 406 Families, a site dedicated to connecting families to local events and resources.

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