What I do when my kids get sick matters. I learned this the hard way over the course of several years and the process of trial and error.
Having sick kids is so hard on so many levels! My mama heart aches for my kids when they are sick, and I want nothing more than to take away their sickness from them. Unfortunately, I cannot. So I choose to do the next best thing…do everything I possibly can so they feel better as soon as possible!
Here are a few of the things I found that help my kids feel better faster, and in turn make life easier on our whole family!
Tips for Sick Kids #1 – Take action at the first sign of illness!
I found that when I wait for full on flu or cold symptoms, it takes longer for my kids to feel better. Even worse, more members of our families get sick, which makes the whole process longer and more tedious.
Keep in mind, your son or daughter may or may not tell you they are unwell at the initial onset if they are busy and/or do not recognize the initial symptoms. Pay attention to cues, and play detective:
Does he or she seem “off?”
Are they more tired than usual?
More cranky than usual?
Not their normal personality?
Also, look for more obvious cues like fever, congestion, headache, sore throat, earache, fatigue, and so on.
Tips for Sick Kids #2: Slow Everything Down
At the first sign of illness in our family, I go into what I call “lockdown.” Meaning, I slow everything down for our entire family when one of our kids starts to get sick. In other words, I look at our schedule and take it down to bare bones to allow time for plenty of rest and to focus on doing ALL the things to feel better.
Again, I learned the hard way that if I do not slow everything down, the germs are no doubt going to being passed around and hectic schedules will lead to every family member getting sick.
Although canceling plans or slowing down is not fun, I’ve found that it helps not only the person who is sick feel better faster, but it also ensures the rest of our family stays as healthy as possible under the circumstances.
On the other hand, when I ignore the first sign of sickness and keep up our busy family schedule, it never fails that the sick family member gets worse, it also spreads to other family members, lasts longer, and we end up having to cancel plans anyway (usually for longer).
Tips for Sick Kids #3: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
I make sure our whole family is hydrated, drinking plenty of clean water.
We do not drink sodas, energy drinks, or juices, but if we did, now would be the time to cut them all out and replace them with lots of water.
Looking for a way to encourage water drinking with your kids?
Buy a reusable (preferably glass or stainless steel) water bottle they are excited about! Let them pick it out, and choose their favorite colors. Here are some fun options.
Make it a game…challenge your child to see if they can drink x amount of water before lunch, x amount of water after lunch, and so on.
Explain to them why drinking water is important.
You can use a visual like an indoor plant. My yoga teacher and I were talking about the importance of drinking water a few weeks ago, and she told me a story about how her mom taught her the importance of hydration as a child. They had indoor plants, and one of them was drooping. Her mom explained how the plant needed water. Then, her mom then watered the plant with her, and they waited and watched as they plant perked back up again. After seeing the plant perk up, her mom then explained how our bodies are similar, how we tend to droop and not feel as well when we need water, and how we feel better after drinking water. She never forgot the lesson, or the seeing the plant perk back up.
Tips for Sick Kids #4: Eat Nutrient Dense, Real Foods
I focus on making sure our entire family is eating a variety of real, unprocessed whole foods. I keep things simple and focus on including a meat/protein, carbohydrates in the form of vegetables and fruit, and healthy fats at every meal. Bone broths and healing soups are wonderful options too!
Focusing on real, nutrient dense foods helps bolster the immune system and provides essential macronutrients and micronutrients to help the body heal.
During times I sickness, I notice my kids feel better faster when they eat gluten free, dairy free, grain free, and sugar free when not feeling well. In other words, more of a paleo way of eating. Pay attention to what works for you and your family. My family eats mostly Paleo anyway since I eat according to the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP), but I tighten things up when one of my kids is sick.
I will say this one felt hard to me at first because years ago, I used to give my children treats and unhealthy favorite foods when they were sick (ice cream, mac n cheese, pizza, etc). Then, I realized the importance of eating clean, nutrient dense foods in health. Now I understand showing them love has nothing to do with giving them ice cream. One of the ways I show them love now is by teaching them how to lovingly take care of their bodies through nutrition and lifestyle. Lessons that I believe will help them as they chase their dreams in life.
Quick tip: If your kids are used to having treats, I encourage you to switch to a homemade treat made with honey or real maple syrup instead of sugar. Danielle Walker’s cookbooks are great resources for this!
Tips for Sick Kids #5: Consider Essential Oils
There are a number of essential oil options, and a number of ways to use essential oils when one of your kids is sick.
Here I will simply cover the very basics, but I encourage you to click on each of the links in this section to learn more about essential oil basics. If you would like to purchase quality essential oils, and discover the many therapeutic benefits of essential oils, I will link to my personal favorites!
You can diffuse essential oils in a diffuser, or you can apply topically (with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil or another option). When using essential oils with children, I always recommend doing your due diligence first as far as understanding what oils you are using and how to properly dilute them. If you feel unsure, I recommend simply diffusing the essential oils or using an essential oils kit designed specifically for kids.
Note: the following essential oils have a number of therapeutic benefits, and can be used for many symptoms, conditions, or situations. I am simply highlighting how I use them for my kids when they are sick. You can click on each link for more information about each oil, and the therapeutic benefits as well as usage tips.
Peppermint – wonderful support for fevers!
Protective Blend – great for supporting the immune system!
Respiratory Blend – relief for nasal and/or chest congestion!
Lavender – supportive for calming and encouraging rest/sleep!
Frankincense – many benefits, but I personally love the calming effect!
I diffuse essential oils when anyone in our family is sick, and I also use essential oils topically for the person who is unwell.
There are many, many more essential oil options, combinations, and uses!
Tip #6 Practice Extra Self-Care!
Whenever one of my kids is sick, I also practice extra self-care, especially since I am diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
I encourage you to take extra care of yourself when one of your kids is sick. They need you, and you cannot pour from an empty cup.
I am keeping this blog post very straight forward, and simple. However, please know there are other things you can do to help your children feel better. For example, some herbs and supplements are very beneficial for supporting the immune system. I always start with the basics I’ve shared here though, and usually the basics are enough to kick any illness to the curb!
Also, I am incredibly grateful for our doctors, and modern medicine. I am in no way anti-western medicine. However, I simply try to support my family’s health as much as I can at home, and consult our doctor when necessary. Further, I am in no way offering medical advice in this post. I am simply sharing my experience.
Video: What Do I Do When My Kids Get Sick?? Tips for Sick Kids
Wishing You Well!
I am wishing you and your sweet kids ALL the best, and best wishes for a speedy recovery! Having sick kids is tough stuff. Sending you lots of love from my mama heart to yours!
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