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Five ways to entertain your kids when you’re sick

By Louise Lavery for Families Magazine – Gold Coast

Feeling sick but still need to look after your kids? Here’s our prescription for five cheeky solutions.

Even super-parents get the flu

We’re expected to effortlessly leap between our different roles – parent, partner, colleague, friend and family member – and be absolutely everything to everyone.

Stay at home parents and carers can’t call in sick. No one can cover your mum or dad shift. Your tiny bosses don’t care that you’re staggering about with the sniffles and a temperature – you still need to meet their KPI’s (Key Parenting Indexes) and perform as per usual.

When we start feeling sick and rundown, the wheels can most definitely come off. It’s hard to take a sick day and laze in bed when you’ve got tiny versions of yourself yelling at you for cups of milk and Peppa Pig.

What do you do when all you want to do is lay in bed and feel sorry for yourself but you still need to keep some semblance of order in your house? Fear not! We’re here to make a house call and give you some silly, creative suggestions that just might make your ‘sickie’ go ‘quicky’. (That was the worst, I hope that pun didn’t make you feel sicker!)

1. Short bursts of excellent parenting

Consider today a relay race. You’re battling against the clock, whatever gross infection is currently residing in your body and the number of things you NEED to get done for your house to function. Break your day into quadrants and give yourself half-hourly targets. Cram as much active parenting as you can into those half-hours and then collapse like a limp tissue while you steel yourself for the next burst. Beyond urgent matters like nappy changes and halting demolition derbies, you should be able to survive the day in fits and bursts.

2. Help yo’self!

Do you remember how exciting Sizzlers was when you were a kid and you were allowed to help yourself? Oh, the glitz! The glamour! The madness of it all!

Set your home up like a salad bar. You want food, kids? Here is a low table of snacks and drinks. Here are all the toys you might wish to play with today. Here are your top five books already out of your room. A little planning in the morning and you’ll have a veritable buffet of kid-fun options so you can sniffle on the couch.

3. Hey, sick mama, leave those kids alone

Obviously this one is age dependant but if you let your kids know that you feel like the inside of a dirty dishwasher they’re probably going to be able to entertain themselves. For the most part, anyway. Now is the time for them to do those messy projects in the yard that can be left and cleaned up later. Cartoons? Cool. Movies? Great idea. Cubby houses? Go nuts! Let your kids be kids and have an unstructured day – you don’t always have to be the grand activity master!

4. Call in the troops

Admit it – you have a hard time asking for help. Now admit this – sometimes you really, really need it! Call around. Grandparents, relatives, neighbours, friends. All those people who’ve always said “Give me a yell if you need anything” are about to get yelled at! There is absolutely no shame in admitting that you need help and you can’t do everything – you’re not going to win a medal for “world’s biggest parenting martyr” if you suffer through everything alone. Share the love / germs and turn to your support system!

5. Let it go, let it go

You know what? This isn’t going to be your best day. The washing won’t get done. The kitchen will resemble the bowels of hell. Some people in your house are probably going to be pantsless for most of the day.

That’s alright. You can’t kick parenting goals every day of the week. Sometimes it’s just about keeping your (sick) head above water. If at the end of the day all of you are still standing and the roof of the house is still on consider it a job well done. Go easy on yourself – you’re only human!

A-tissue, a-tissue, we all fall down!

We know, it can be really hard to entertain your kids when you’re sick. Hopefully this has given you some useful ideas or maybe you’ve managed to crack a smile. Get comfy, chuck on Netflix and get well soon!

Looking for a late night Chemist on the Gold Coast? Send someone to these places, start! 

This article featured in Issue 33 of our printed magazine, published April 2019.

Photo of author

Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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