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The kindergarden called me mid-morning. My daughter appeared to be ill, I should come to pick her up. As fast as I could, I went to her kindergarden and a picture of misery awaited me. She was pale, her eyes looked tired and when I took her into my arms, she cried. She was sick with an awful cold and a fever and that meant for us:
The next few days, we had to spend at home quarantined
Having a sick kid is a demanding job. There are the tough first days, when the disease strikes. And when the worst of the illness is over, you‘re still stuck at home. My child becomes bored and I have to come up with low key activities, that let her rest and help to pass the time, have hardly any prep and use stuff I already have at home.
It is best not to start new or challenging activities
Rather something familiar she already likes. And of course, activities shouldn‘t be too exhausting. I always keep an eye on her condition and her temperature. degree° is a great aid here: With this little thermometer that stays in her ear, I can monitor her temperature continuously and notice immediately, when the fever is about to rise again. Thus, we are on the safe side!
So here is my list of activities for sick kids:
- Reading books. I have to admit, this one is my first choice: It is cuddle-friendly and simple. I also like to think up stories when we already know a book inside out: Just tell aloud the associations you have at any point of the story and let it develop. My daughter loves that, we got our most interesting conversations started this way.
- A similar idea is pulling out family photo albums or your child‘s baby book. Or looking through the photos on your phone. This is a great template to talk about past vacations and experiences. You can choose your favorite pictures to pin them on the fridge or frame them as a gift for grandpa.
- Create a hideout. Use all the pillows and cushions you have and drape a blanket to build a cozy nook. This is a great pastime for a sick child because you can stay in bed and relax in a new cool setting. Stuffed animals are also welcome and a child-safe pocket lamp extends the enjoyment. It is also a great place for an indoor picnic.
- This one always goes very well: Conjuring up presents. Like most kids nowadays mine also have a great deal too much toys. They don‘t even notice, when I pack away stuff so I do this regularly. A perfect point in time to pull them out again is on sick days. This is a win-win situation: Fewer toys lying around in the daily life and things remain interesting. My kids are delighted, when they get new old gifts.
- Classics of sick kids entertainment: Quiet activities like drawing, doing puzzles, playing with play dough, doing handicrafts or playing with stickers. There are many ideas on Pinterest, if you need a little inspiration. Also, old games could be modified to spice them up: One of my daughter‘s favorites is ‚puzzle sort‘. I take a few of her puzzles and dump them in a pile. She always takes up the challenge and this activity keeps her occupied for a solid amount of time!
- Board games are perfect for sick days. But choose cooperative games rather than games in which the players compete against each other because sick kids react more touchy. Also, the game shouldn‘t be too difficult.
- This one is for reasonably fit kids: A scavenger hunt. I hide some toys (red duplo bricks for example – for my four year old kid, simple and identical objects are required) on easily found spots. My daughter takes a basket and gets on with the search. This game helps to pass a lot of time because it can be played many times in a row.
- Going outdoors is not a possibility if your child is infectious but otherwise it is absolutely fine. Fresh air is healthy and a short walk can do wonders to get the blood flowing. Younger kids can be carried in a buggy for a stroll cozily wrapped up, of course.
- Play doctor. This is also one of my favorites, because I can bring in some outstanding engagement: Laying on the floor and saying things like ‚aaah!‘ and ‚ouch‘. It is a favorite of my daughter, too, because it gives her the power she misses when she is sick. Being able to heal imaginary illnesses and injuries feels totally empowering! So set up a hospital and let your kid doctor her dolls, cuddly toys or you.
- Audio plays are also a great idea because your kid can just sit on the sofa or his bed and listen without any physical activity. If your kids (like mine) don‘t like audio plays try children‘s songs or make some music yourself. A rattling object, something to drum on and your voices will do.
- This one is the activity for a sick toddler: Just dump a bag of rice into a large tub. Add spoons, cups and funnels and your kid will be occupied for a solid amount of time. For a toddler there is something magical about rice bins. They are simply fascinated by them. The rice can be stored in a tupperware for later use.
- Another toddler game: Hide different objects under a cloth (or in the rice bin). Let your child feel the object and guess what it is.
- If everything else fails, TV could be your last rescue. Sometimes, mindless entertainment is simply the best medicine.