Last night, my oldest woke me in my least favorite way: with a wail and the sound of repeated retching. I was with him in a flash, but cursed my lack of preparation. We were in the midst of sick season, and I wasn’t ready. Driven by the adrenaline pumping through me as a result of his late night puke session, I reevaluated my battle plan and quickly replenished my supplies. Here are my best hacks for surviving the sick season with little ones.
A GO Bin
This will stay in the master bedroom because that’s where the sickness most often lands, and it allows me to respond to either kid without attempting to sneak into another room. Tucked in a bin under our bed (yet in quick reach from the typical sick landing zone) are the following items:
- Old towels
- Antibacterial wipes and regular baby wipes
- A roll of paper towels
- Plastic bags
- A change of pajamas for each kid
- Extra sheets and pillow case AND/OR a fleece blanket
- Back-up luvvies and cuddle items
These items fit neatly in the bin, but are assembled for quick responses. Wipes and paper towels help with cleanup, which goes into the plastic bags for quick disposal. Old towels go down by the child’s bed, and the bin acts as a catch-point for sick kiddos who can’t make it to the toilet. The rest are use if needed, or can quickly tuck back under the bed until the bin is available.
A bucket could work well if you need fewer items, but the bin seemed best for our stage of preschool/toddler life and our house set up. A trash can with lid could also work well if under the bed is not an option.
Sick Bedding Tactics
Last night I didn’t realize that my oldest got sick in his bed first, then came to find me. I tried to put him back to bed and put him right in a pile of vomit. Yuck! As I quickly changed the sheets, I blessed the mama who passed down this piece of advice: layer your sheets and mattress pad so you can quickly strip the bad sheets without having to remake the bed. I pulled back the dirty sheets and pad to discover a clean set below and almost sang for joy. All I had to do was switch the pillow case and blanket, and he was good to go.
Having these items in my GO bin helps keep my frustration to a minimum. Trying to tell my husband where to find the green fleece blanket (not that one, the other one!) while he’s barely awake is no fun for anyone. Tip: fleece is the ideal backup blanket fabric, because you can put it down over something wet and your child won’t feel it if you can’t address the mess right away or are waiting on the laundry to finish for a clean set.
Keeping Them Hydrated
Right now I have powdered Pedialyte packets ready, but I like to keep a few of their popsicles on hand, too. I make a slushy by slapping one or two popsicles on the edge of the counter to break it up into a sippy or straw cup, then add a tiny bit of water and shake it up. It keeps it super cold (which makes Pedialyte taste better, anyway) and adds a little novelty for my kiddos. Mixing two different colors is a favorite choice for my oldest child.
If your kiddo isn’t a fan of juices or isn’t able to keep water down at this point of sickness, a bath is also a good option. Your skin is your largest organ and able to absorb some water. However, if your child is lethargic or otherwise not acting like themselves, please call your doctor or one of the other resources listed at the end of this list! Keeping your child hydrated is more important than making sure they eat anything, so focus on that first.
Safe Snack Bag
I try to always keep toddler standbys like toast and bananas in my house. But I started keeping one safe snack bag assembled that I could pull out if needed. Items like pretzels, crackers, goldfish, and graham crackers are safe, bland foods to test a troubled tummy. It also gives my husband something to look for instead of offering foods that make me cringe (why does it always involve cheese?!) He may have an iron stomach, but our kids do not… yet!
Dressing For Success
This one seems silly, but as I’ve fought the stomach bug that only seems to come in waves, it helped with the piles of laundry. I matched my kids’ clothes to whatever flavor of Pedialyte they were drinking until I knew they could keep things down. Red Pedialyte demands red shirts and dark pants and socks, etc. When the bedding and sheets and so much else were filling the washer, it helped to know that old t-shirt could stand to wait a bit without getting terribly stained.
We are fortunate to live in a city with so many healthcare options. My kids have the amazing ability to get sick after 5pm or on the weekend, when the pediatrician’s office is closed. But we have an amazing service in the After Hours Pediatric Urgent Care on the north side of town near Briargate and Union. There’s also a 24-hour nurses line run through Children’s Hospital of Colorado.
There are many urgent care locations around the city (here’s a helpful guide if you’ve never visited one before) or consider having your healthcare come to you! An amazing option if the thought of corralling kids in a germ-infested waiting room is beyond your capacity right now, Dispatch Health offers house call services!
How do you and your family deal with the onslaught of germs this time of year? What are your go-to methods for dealing with the sick season?
Great tips! My kiddo is sick right now so I’m happy to discover some new tricks 🙂
So sorry your kiddo is sick! Hope it passes quickly!
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