Sometimes I enjoy a day when I have to stay home with a sick kid. (Does that make me a bad mom?)
Last week Emma threw up at school and I had to leave work to pick her up. That day, she helped me around the house (she’s hosting a party on the weekend), we went for a walk, and we sat and watched a little tv.
Overall Emma seemed fine – and often is after her one-off puke sessions at school – but she has to go home. And so I get an unplanned day off. I can often get in a load of laundry, some tidying up, and some online work done on these unplanned stay-at-home days.
Sometimes this miss of mine is fine for hours, but then takes a turn and throws up again hours later. This was one of those times. I went out to dinner with a girlfriend, and returned home to the news she threw up “10 minutes ago.”
Next morning saw Emma stay home from school again. She did put herself back to bed when Rose went to the bus – which is amazing since she fought me like crazy the day before about laying down. She slept maybe 45 minutes, and then woke up “fine.” Then I used her to help me with chores most of the rest of the day.
When the girls were smaller, staying home with a sick kid was a lot more demanding. They never knew when they were going to throw up, they wanted to eat and play, then minutes later they’d be prostate or throwing up. I’ve learned a few things in my 9 years of having to stay home with a sick kid.
5 Ways to Survive A Day Home With A Sick Kid
*Some of these ideas depend on the severity of sickness. I’m writing from a flu-bug, non life threatening, kid style illness where they’re “sick” one minute, and wanting to play hardcore the next.*
Think about it as a Day Off!
I got to leave work early (after only an hour) to collect Emma from school. My first thought – of course – was “I hope she’s okay!’ closely followed by “Sweet! I can get some laundry done today. Plus, if she sleeps, I can work on my blog!” The big downfall here is a loss of pay – if you are paid hourly. And I am.
Offer frequent small snacks.
Tummy bugs can be hard on a little person’s body. And dry heaves are the worst! We keep snacks like Goldfish on hand so the girls can have one or two small crackers when they decide they’re ready to try eating again. Plus getting some food in there – or at least a glass of water – helps if the need to upchuck happens again.
Make them sleep.
Emma hates sleeping during the day. She has been that way her entire life. She was an awful napper, and unless she’s feeling REALLY unwell it’s a fight to get her to lay down in bed. But eventually she does, and she will sleep for a few hours. Most of the time the kids feel better after a sleep – though after her nap this time, she did throw up again.
Use the slave labour.
This may make me a bad mom, but when the kids are home and they want to help, I let them! The second day of Emma being home this round of sickness she stripped her own bed, got the sheets and blankets into a laundry basket, and carried them down to the basement for me. She used to complain that she couldn’t manage the laundry baskets – I told her she now has a new household task! (This is only applicable if the kiddo is feeling okay enough to be playing or similar.)
If your kiddo isn’t tired enough to sleep, put on a movie or something and sit together. Often cuddles will help little people feel better, at least emotionally. Plus it’s important to keep yourself refreshed in case you get those germs too. After you’ve taken time off to care for your little one you’re likely not too excited to stay home sick yourself once they recover!
Here’s a little follow up: The very next day, after I got to work, a cold began to grow inside my head. Of course it did, it was almost the weekend, and a long one at that. While not as disasterous as the “man cold” I had just come down with The Mom Cold.
Do you often have to stay home with a sick kid? How do you help them feel better? Please share your own tips for looking after sick kids (and saving your sanity while doing it!)