Long days spent convalescing needn’t be boring – read on for five examples of fun things to do to entertain your little one when they’re feeling under the weather
When your child has a sick day, as a parent you can be torn. Not only do you and your partner have to juggle work commitments with childcare, you also want to soothe and entertain your child with fun activities so they return to their happy, healthy selves as soon as possible. Here are our top tips for being nurse and entertainer in one, when your little one is feeling up to it.
5 tips for sick day entertainment
1. Play games and puzzles
Just like on a rainy day, when your child is sick it’s a good time to get out the playing cards, board games and puzzles. Choose to play indoor games that encourage you to work together rather than compete, as your little one may be more sensitive than usual when poorly. Take plenty of breaks and naps, as they are likely to tire more easily, too.
2. Reminisce over photos
Look at family pictures and pull out their baby photos. Scroll through them on your phone, computer or digital camera or, if you have them, dig out your child’s baby book or family photo albums, so you can look through them together, remember good times and plan fun things to do once your child is back on form. You could also use them to create your own photo book, order new fridge magnets with your favourite pictures, or choose a special one for a grandparent’s birthday present.
3. Build a den
A den is all about adventure and offers a safe haven to sick children to play in quietly or even have a snooze. Drape sheets or blankets over dining chairs and secure with washing pegs. Line pillows around the edges to firm up the walls and then add more blankets and cushions to make it cosy. Perhaps host a teddy bear’s picnic inside with a drink for your little one so they can keep hydrated. It can be really cool to put in a little night light to make the tent glow inside.
4. Crafts and painting
Set-up a table where your child feels comfortable, even if that means by the bed or couch, and model with clay or unwrap a fresh box of crayons or pens, so they can draw some pictures of things you can do together once they are better. Check out Pinterest for lots of other great crafty ideas.
5. Make Music
Almost all household items can be used to create a tune and it’s a great way for you and your little one to get creative. Whether it’s kitchen pots and pans or a shaker made from rice, even they’re not well toddlers love being loud so why not make the most of it!
It’s distressing when your child is uncomfortable and out of sorts, especially when their temperature is rising. Braun’s range of digital thermometers will help you interpret your child’s temperature confidently. Ear thermometers, such as ThermoScan 7, ThermoScan 5 and ThermoScan – 3 IRT3030, are trusted by doctors with Braun’s ThermoScan Technology the no. 1 brand of choice among healthcare professionals.
With the definition of a fever changing with the child’s age, Braun’s ThermoScan 7 allows you to select your child’s age, take their temperature and the display will help you understand the reading so you act accordingly. In babies under three months old, an oral temperature that exceeds 37.4°C should prompt a visit to the doctor. In babies between three months and 36 months, an oral temperature above 38.5°C means you need to seek advice from a health professional.
What is a normal temperature for a baby can also vary – you might have noticed that your normal temperature is 36.5°C while your partner’s is 37°C. It’s important to know what’s normal for your baby. Taking their temperature over a few days when they’re healthy can be worthwhile, so you have a reliable measure.
Tips for keeping your little one comfortable
- Keep the room airy, but not draughty. Avoid making the room too warm – check the thermostat.
- Help them put on something that is loose like a pair of pyjamas. Be careful not to put too many layers on to avoid overheating. The addition of a sheet or a blanket is perfect, as you can easily remove it if need be.
- Give them plenty to drink. Water is best, to ensure they are hydrated.
- Let them eat when they feel like it. Try to offer small amounts regularly, to keep their energy up. Don’t worry if they are off food for the first day.
- Let them sleep. Sick children get very tired and need plenty of rest. Encourage your child to snooze. A little sleep can also mean a break for you too.
- Offer your child infant paracetamol or ibuprofen if they are very uncomfortable or upset or they have a high fever. Try not to give it too soon, though, as fever plays an important part in fighting infection. Follow the dosage instructions on the packet.
And don’t forget about you! Looking after a sick child can be exhausting, especially when your little one is not sleeping. Eat well and rest when you can – ask family or friends to help cook, perhaps, and give you the opportunity to take a break if you need it. Remember to look after yourself; you don’t want to end up needing a sick day as well.
If you are at all worried, don’t hesitate to seek expert medical advice. Contact your GP or health visitor urgently if your child:
- is under three months old and has an oral temperature of 37.4°C or above;
- is between three and six months old and has an oral temperature of 38.5°C or above;
- if your child has other signs of being unwell, such as persistent vomiting, refusal to feed, floppiness or drowsiness.