Friday, 20 November 2015

Play Time - Sick Day

My son has a cold, again. Or maybe I should say still. Very shortly after going into daycare, he started coming home with minor things; scrapes, runny noses, little bumps here and there. No biggie, he's a kid and those things are going to happen. As soon as the chill hit the air though? Wham! Perma-cold. A never ending loop of dripping slime, hacking cough, and periodic misery. My doctor checked him out and basically said that it's going to be like this for the first year of daycare while his immune system grows with him. So long as his fever doesn't spike dramatically, or he doesn't experience anything abnormal, we pretty much just have to roll with it. This causes a few problems; I'm missing work again (which causes me a little anxiety and guilt), and we're bored!  Here are some of our fun coping mechanisms for a recovery day at home.

If ever there was a good time to play with your food, it's today. If your kids are old enough (or just plain patient enough) to bake with you, this is a great way to spend some quality time. Try some smile cookies, some healthy blueberry muffins, or fresh rolls! My mother used to make what we lovingly referred to as "bread shaped animals" and we loved them. The smell was amazing. Younger kids can still have fun in the kitchen. What we did this morning was pick some colourful fruit for breakfast. We made an artful arrangement, then dug in together, with yoghurt for deliciously messy dipping. A good dose of vitamins and a nice meal in one.

When eating gets a little too "creative" or your little one is really congested, why not have an under sea adventure? A nice, warm bath is a fantastic multitasker; you have a great time, while opening up your airways, and you come out clean! Big win there. If your little one is in to bath toys, you can make up a whole story with sound effects and funny voices! For babies, take your time to clean each tiny toe, allowing them to take in the comfort of your touch. Singing about rubber duckies and boats adds to the fun!

While my son usually loves independent play, when he's really sick and needy I need to have a repertoire of "cuddle" tasks - things he can largely do on my lap. We like to sit and play blocks, making towers, changing them around, and knocking them over. This can occupy him for a long time, and he loves to sort through looking for the specific colours I ask for, or shapes that will best fit. Sitting at his train table is also a big hit. He'll move the train along the track much more calmly when he's feeling unwell, rather than redesigning the whole village. 

The ultimate cuddle task is reading, of course, and I will read book after book of his favourite characters. We have lots of modern board books, which are great for him to hold and handle, and are perfect for short attention spans. When he wants to really snuggle in, we have a 1980's collection that includes lots of the old school. I'm talking Disney (he likes puppies, so Lady and the Tramp and 101 Dalmatians get a lot of attention) , Sesame Street (with characters like Prairie Dawn and Guy Smilie!) and lots of nature books. I actually enjoy them more than he does some time for the pure nostalgia of it. 

I know it's not great to let your kids spend too much time in front of the television, but for a sick day, I don't think it will hurt to have a little media in your mix. With really educational programming available to us on demand from services like Netflix and YouTube, you can select and show only exactly what you want. I record a few programs on the PVR and when it's over, it over. The next show doesn't start, the screen stops entirely. My son will say "all done" and it's on to the next thing. Not only does it serve as a short, relaxing treat for the child, you can stop playing entertainer for a brief moment. Just long enough to take your child's temperature, get some food or medication, or just to enjoy that time together.

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