How To Survive Staying Home With A Sick Kid

How To Survive Staying Home With a Sick Kid

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.

How to survive staying 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.)

How to survive staying home with a sick kidRelax with the sicky.

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!)




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  1. That’s a great list of ways to make the best of a lousy situation. I like the “slave labor,” part. Tee hee. The kids love helping parents with chores–at least until they’re teenagers!

  2. Hi Jess, I can’t believe I am writing this, but I did sort of enjoy it when the children were sick too (just normal poorly, not really, really sick that is). Shhhhh, I’m sure it doesn’t make us bad Mums, it just makes us people who accept the inevitable and make the most of it.It was the cuddles and snuggles The house could fall down around my ears, but I’d happily sit passing the time, helping them feel better. It was when they were back to normal and I realised the number of chores I’d neglected to do that I’d start inwardly cursing.

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC and sharing your tips.


    1. It’s so great to sit and cuddle with the kids. When they’re sick it gives us parents a good reason to sit and relax (as long as no one is going to throw up any second!) and let the laundry pile up!

  3. I’m a stay at home mom anyway, but I HATE when my 5 year old gets sick because she DOES get man colds. It’s horrible. It is trickier with younger kids because you never know if they are going to puke or not, like you said! #fabfridaypost

  4. I like it when my girls are off school sick. The only time they usually are is when they’ve vomited once at school and have to stay off for 24 hours…hehehe They’re usually fine when they’re home. It’s nice to have some one on one time with them. x #MMBC

    1. I know, right? My girls are usually pretty good once they’ve come home. And if they’re not, they’ll go to sleep and I get get some housework (or blog work) done!

  5. It is so much easier now that the kids are older. We now give them a sick bucket, wrap them up on the sofa with a nice film and have a snuggle together #mmbc

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