It is 11:20am, and I am sitting here in my maternity pajamas at week 35, with an unnatural appetite for SLEEP. Today is not actually a real sick day, but I have had my fair share this pregnancy with migraines, anemia, and tummy bugs, and have learned some tricks to making it easier to get away with surviving a sick day with kids.
Tips on surviving a sick day with kids:
- The first step is to go ahead and pre-forgive yourself for any “poor parenting” you might do that day. You have to take care of yourself! Give yourself much grace!
- Cancel everything! Don’t let your obligations keep you from getting well.
- Live in the filth. Be one with the mess. Dishes and laundry can wait until you are better. Let your home be filled with laziness, lots and lots of laziness.
- Next, if you are a needy sick person, like I tend to be sometimes, you can beg your significant other to stay home from work to help, ask your nearest family members to lend a hand, call a sitter, or reach out to friends. Really, if you need help, ask, and if someone offers it, accept it! If calling in reinforcements doesn’t work, it’s time to pull out all the stops. You can do this!
- Do not limit screen time. Give the kids the remote, the iPad, the kindle, and/or your old cell phones. Let them zone out all day if you need to. It won’t kill them, and it will give you the break you need to rest! Who knows…an all-day Chuggington marathon might just go down in history as one of their favorite days of all time.
- Next, think of your most accessible, easy-to-scrounge-together meals or snacks. My kids typically eat/drink a lot of cheese sticks, cheese slices, apples, granola bars, milk, juice pouches, squeezie packs, pb&j sandwiches, cereal, lunch meat, veggie straws, pretzels, and other snacky foods on my sick days. I try to keep some of these things around just in case.
- Remember the most important thing is to not feel bad about this! You have to do what you have to do to keep the little people occupied…and fed, of course. There are always food delivery services as well! You could even order a pizza, put it on paper plates, and let the kids sit in a cardboard box (because they think it’s totally fun AND it contains the mess) while they watch tv. Yes, this really happened at our house.
I have also found it is helpful to start an activity with my boys (five years old and three years old), to get them focused on something. If I at least start playing something with them, it gets them interested in it, then I can bail, and head for the couch. Legos usually do the trick! I even give my boys challenges to keep them in the playroom. For instance, “Guys, go see who can build the biggest, most amazing (meaning intricate and time-consuming) Lego tower/monster/car!”
If you are feeling really organized and want to be prepared, you could even make a little stash of “sick day surprises,” which could include things like new (to them at least) books, toys, mess-free crafts, movies, games, etc. Anything that they have never seen before or not frequently will at least spark their interest long enough for you to sneak in a bit of rest time. I usually end up renting a movie on Amazon that they have never seen before, too. They love that!
During all of these kid distractions, don’t forget to feed/hydrate yourself. On non-sick days, I will make chicken broth to have ready for days like this or just for some awesome chicken noodle soup. I keep it in the freezer in small zip-locks, ready to thaw on the fly. A hot cup of broth helps with energy and hydration so incredibly much. I also keep that giant cup I got as a prize from the hospital when I had my babies filled with ice water beside me all day. If you can somehow manage to sneak in a bath or some naps, do it! No guilt.