One of the hardest parts of being a parent is dealing with a sick kid. You want them to feel better, but you cannot wave a magic wand and make it all OK. Here are a few points on how to cheer up a child battling with illness. We’ll give advice that addresses all age levels and that won’t cost you a fortune.
The Right Foods
A child with a sore throat should be given delicious drinks and semi-solid foods to entice them to eat. There’s a reason why the highlight for many children of having their tonsils out was a steady diet of ice cream. You should look for yogurt, ice cream, or dairy-free alternatives, healthy but delicious drinks, and other things your child will consume when ill, whether with or without a sore throat. A child drinking a sweet ice slushy in their favorite flavor will feel better, even if it still hurts to swallow, and will certainly feel better if they are dehydrated. Breaking a “no soda” rule by giving a child flat caffeine-free soda could get an ill child to drink proper amounts when ill. Or, buy those cartoon character single serve drinks to get your preschooler excited about drinking fruit juice.
The Right Types of Activities
A child who is ill needs activities to distract them from their illness without making things worse. For example, a child of any age may appreciate a movie marathon. Camping out on the couch under a makeshift tent is something they can do even if they don’t feel like doing much more than napping.
Consider playing dress up using items you have around the house. If you don’t have the means to buy costumes, you can use this tutorial from DIY Formula on how to make homemade costumes. Children can play pretend with relatively little physical activity, hamming it up with pun wars, faking accents or reading books related to the dress up theme. Or you can dress up in the costumes for your chosen theme and then watch related movies.
You may even want to stock up on sick day activities with a “get well” box. It should have age appropriate games a child stuck in bed can do like sticker books and activity books.
The Right Distractions
If your child is ill, consider playing doctor with a stuffed animal. This is especially useful with a toddler. Check the stuffed animal’s temperature, give it its medicine, and mimic any procedures the child has undergone.
You can also make activities your child needs more comfortable and fun. A child with heavy congestion needs exposure to steam; making a hot bath more fun with new floating toys or bath safe crayons makes this all the easier. A child with a fever in need of a cool bath may become more manageable if given new bath toys or allowed to bring plastic toys into the tub.
There are plenty of things you can do to cheer up a child struggling with illness, and you don’t necessarily have to break the bank. Something as simple keeping them active and being more lenient with food choices can be enough to alleviate some of the pain.