I’m convinced that one of the toughest trials of parenthood is dealing with a sick child.
First there are the messes. Since kids are just learning the fine art of coughing into their elbow and wiping their nose with a tissue, it’s pretty much expected that the yuckiest parts of their illness will end up on their hands, their faces, and their sleeves—and most likely yours too.
Then there are the emotional struggles. Nothing tears your mama heart apart like the sight of your child feeling utterly miserable. When I was sick as a child, my mom always told me she wished she could be sick in my place. I thought she was crazy then—why would anyone WANT to be sick???—but I totally get it now.
Of course, be careful what you wish for, because having a sick kid in the house inevitably leads to germ-sharing. Without fail, the moment your kid finally starts feeling better is the moment you come down with it yourself. And parents don’t get sick days!
If you’re currently swimming in a sea of your child’s used tissues, arm yourself with these easy tips to help your kiddo (and yourself!) make it through to the healthier side.
4 Tricks to Soothe a Sick Child That Every Mom Should Know
1. Drink up.
It’s always important to keep kids hydrated, but even more so when they’re feeling under the weather. Fever, diarrhea, and vomiting cause children to lose large amounts of water and salt, and they must replenish that.
If water isn’t appealing, try liquid-heavy foods like a soothing cup of chicken soup. If your child has a sore throat, cold drinks and Popsicles will not only hydrate them, but also feel good going down.
2. Combine symptom relief with a mother’s touch.
Coughs and colds in children can be especially tough to manage because there aren’t many options available for little ones. What’s more, a persistent cough can make it difficult for kids to fall or stay asleep—a nightmare for all involved!
When your child really needs some relief from their cough due to cold, one great place to turn is Vicks® VapoRub™—the #1-selling children’s cough and cold product for kids ages two and up.* Vicks® VapoRub™ is a topical cough medicine with medicated vapors that can be rubbed on your child’s chest, neck, and back to help relieve symptoms. The medicated vapors last up to 8 hours. (In other words, all through the night!)
As if the fact that IT ACTUALLY WORKS isn’t enough, there’s another big bonus: Since it’s applied topically, your children not only get relief from their cough symptoms, but they also get to feel you putting it on them.
This is so important because for many kids, there is nothing more soothing than their parents’ loving touch. Just when your kids need you most, they get to physically feel you comforting them—increasing your bond as you help soothe their coughs so they can breathe easier.
3. Relax the screen time rules.
Most of us worry about giving our kids too much screen time, and with good reason! But when they’re sick, you can throw the rules out the window without an ounce of guilt over it.
Why? Because what our kids need most when they’re sick is REST. Ordinarily we don’t want them spending a whole afternoon in front of the television; we want them up and moving and playing and learning. But when their bodies need stillness to recuperate, extra movies and shows are actually a good thing.
4. Be gentle with their irritated skin.
It’s easy to tell when kids have recently recovered from a cold because their noses are usually red, raw, and sore.
That’s because constantly wiping their nose with a regular tissue quickly leads to skin irritation, and it can be quite painful for our little ones! Parents can reduce that irritation by using a warm, wet cloth instead of a dry tissue. Gently rubbing some petroleum jelly around their noses can also help heal any dry or chapped skin.
What’s your best tip for soothing a sick child?
*P&G calculation based in part on value sales data by The Nielsen Company through its Retail Scantrack Services in the US market to which P&G subscribes for the Respiratory Care Category for the 52 week period ending 06/04/16.