We have had a terrible snow storm on the east coast this week, but if school had not been cancelled I think I would have needed to keep Penny home from preschool anyway. She has a terrible cold that has kept her up at night coughing for the past few days. It is just that time of year. Our kids are going to be getting sick quite a bit. That’s why when the CHPA Educational Foundation invited me to be part of their KnowYourOTCs blogging program to help spread the word about cold and flu symptoms and safe ways to use over-the-counter products in our homes, I jumped at the chance.
The problem with having kids at home sick, though, is that if your kids are anything like mine then there is no keeping them confined to their beds or the couch for days at a time. That is just not realistic. Apparently “rest” does not mean the same thing to a preschooler that it does to Mom! In light of that, I have come up with a few low-key activities to keep the screen time minimized, but also give their little bodies the rest they need.
5 Sick Day Activities For Kids
- Play word or color games. When I took my daughter to the doctor’s office last week we played “I spy” in the waiting room for twenty minutes. Kids love to be able to trick adults by choosing hard things to find! Games like 20 Questions, Pictionary, and Hangman are great because no one even needs to get off the sofa. Board games are also fun!
- Have a paper airplane contest. Spend some time designing a few different types of paper airplanes. Decorate them with crayons, markers, or stickers. Use trial and error, then measure and see which design flies the best.
- Use those empty tissue boxes. If you have a child who likes to craft, like my oldest daughter Abby, maybe you could read a book together and create a diorama of a scene from the story. Or you could use craft sticks to make puppets and turn your tissue box into a small stage for your puppet theater.
- Cook together. Of course, you will want to make sure that those little germ-covered hands are washed very well! But if your child has an appetite, a make-your-own lunch like English muffin pizzas where kids can create their own culinary masterpiece (and then eat their artwork) can be fun and memorable.
- Self-portraits. My kids love to create self-portraits in different media. They like to draw on the large chalkboard in our kitchen, they love to “paint” with cotton swabs dipped in colored water, and they like to make clay models of themselves. It is good for their fine motor skills and a great distraction from a runny nose! Kids will also love it if you get involved and draw a funny portrait of yourself. This is one of the self-portraits Abby recently created:
I hope these activities are helpful! It is also important to remember that when our kids are home because they are sick and we are giving them their medicines, that is a very serious responsibility. If you are planning to treat your child with over-the-counter (OTC) products this cold and flu season, please remember:
- Always read the Drug Facts label before administering an OTC medicine
- Never give oral cough/cold medicines to kids under the age of 4
- Prevention tips to keep reinforcing with your kids: wash your hands, cough into your elbow, stay home when you are sick.
- It’s important to see a doctor if you have suspected influenza on day 1 or 2, especially if you are considered high risk. The following groups are considered high-risk:
- Children under 2 years
- Adults over 65
- Pregnant women
- Anyone with complicated/severe illness
This infographic is a great reminder about common flu symptoms and the medicines that treat them.
I am a part of the CHPA Educational Foundation’s KnowYourOTCs blogging program but all opinions are my own.
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