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Tips For Supporting Your Unwell Child

by Toby Hodgkins

Having a child who is unwell is really upsetting for everyone!

My little boy Max currently has a really nasty flu-like virus, and after a horrendously bad nights sleep for everyone, I’ve had to take the day off work so that my wife (Bump, Baby & You Content Editor Katie) can work (powered by lots of coffee of course).

I thought it would be helpful to share some tips on making your day with a sick child easier all round…

One – Expect The Routine To Go To Shit and Go With The Flow…

You can be as routine-oriented as you want, but let’s face it, when your child is unwell there is very little chance of being able to stick to the usual routine. Go with the flow and follow your child’s ques. Think about when you are sick; do you do the same things at the same time as when you are well? It’ll prevent distress to follow your child.

Two – If They’ll Only Eat Chocolate… Let them.

Ok, one a lot of parents won’t agree with but let me explain.

As long as this isn’t a regular thing, a day where chocolate becomes the main source of sustenance won’t hurt especially if your sick child will only nibble at bits, and refuses anything else. Don’t let them pig out and let them meet their energy needs with something that they WILL eat. It may even cheer them up a little!

Three – Sleep is a Healer, So Don’t Worry About Naps.

If your child dropped naps ages ago but is suddenly snoozing at lunch time when they are unwell, don’t worry.

Sleep is a healer, and it is their body trying to recover as well as reserve energy stores, so as much as you dread how they’ll sleep at night, don’t worry too much about impromptu napping. It is normal for poorly people to sleep more!

Four – Never Be Afraid To Ask For Medical Support

It’s really normal for parents to doubt themselves, especially when it comes to illness. No one wants to look paranoid or daft turning up at the clinic with a poorly child who suddenly perks up at the new, interesting environment and promptly starts acting more like themselves, but it’s just part and parcel of parenthood and generally doctors will understand this very well.

If in doubt of your child’s symptoms, always call your GP, or 111 if out of hours. Call 999 if your little one is severely unwell.

Five – As Tired As You Feel, Your Child Feels Worse; Remember That!

It is very easy to lose your rag with a child who has insisted on screaming every 30 minutes during the night, and who has a terrible attitude on them when they’re not very well, but remember – kids can’t self regulate like we can. They don’t mean to be like this, and as hard as it is to remember when you’re half asleep and your sick child is roaring due to the TV not being on the right channel at 2am, we need to be patient.

As unwell and sleep deprived as you feel, at least you kind of understand and your body is able to handle lack of sleep and bugs much more than your child’s can. Give them lots of cuddles and kisses!

Toby Hodgkins.

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