Although we would prefer it if our kids never got sick a day in their lives, catching a bug now and then is inevitable. It’s actually an important way for them to develop their immune systems, so it’s not all bad. It can be unpleasant though, especially for very young children who may not understand why they feel so bad. It can be hard to care for your under-fives when they’re poorly, not just because they can find it hard to cope, but because you will be feeling worried about them and hating the fact they are suffering. Here are a few ideas for things you can do to make it easier all round.
If your child senses that you are worried and distressed it can make them feel more worried and stressed too, so try and be cheerful around them. If you have a positive attitude, they will feel reassured, which will help them cope better with their illness. There’s a fine line between downplaying the situation and making the child believe you don’t care enough, so take care navigating this road. It’s important for your little one to feel loved and cared for, but not to learn that illness is something to be used to get special treatment. How you manage these nuances will depend in some part on your child’s personality, so be guided by what you know about them.
Spend time with them
This leads on from the previous point about giving your child the right level of attention. It’s important to spend some time with them through the day, reading to them, playing a game, or helping them with something creative. They may not feel like doing anything at all, but just twenty minutes here and there throughout the day spent sitting with them holding their hand or stroking their hair will be very comforting for them. If you are a believer, then saying prayers can be both calming and instructive. You could say a prayer for healing together for example, or read some Bible stories – there are some wonderful stories adapted for children from the Bible. Don’t fuss excessively over your sick child, just make sure they have everything they need and pop in to check on them every so often.
Try not to worry too much
Trying not to worry too much is easier said than done, admittedly, but it will not do your child any good, so it’s a waste of energy. If your kid’s face is covered in itchy chicken pox, it’s a horrible thing to see, but once they’ve recovered, they should be immune from further attacks. That means they won’t ever have to worry about that bug again, which is a good thing. As long as you’re keeping them comfortable, clean, entertained, and treating the symptoms as currently recommended, you’ll be doing your best, and that’s all you can do. Kids are normally amazingly resilient, often carrying on as normal with streaming colds and bouncing back from sickness very quickly, so be the caring parent they need, but don’t make yourself ill worrying about them.