What To Do When The Parent Is Sick

I was asked recently what to do when the parent is sick. You know, when you feel like dying but have to keep going because there’s a family to be kept alive.

Here are some things that you can do to ease your pain slightly, if it’s getting too much:

1. Talk to the family
Firstly, let everyone know (including the kids) that you’re feeling a little sick. There is nothing wrong with your child knowing you aren’t feeling well. I personally think it’s important for them to understand that everyone gets sick, even parents. And the kids can often make a game out of it (even if it is less-than-helpful ha!). Also make sure your partner knows (if you have one) – sometimes we all get a little stuck in our own bubble and unless told something, don’t think anything is different.


2. Ask for help
Most of us have a support system in place – a partner, or parents of our own, or even friends, that we can call on in times of need. Some of us, however, don’t. So it’s important to use what we have, if it’s available. If you’re really sick, then just ask for help. I was once extremely ill with an ocular migraine – so I was vomiting and my vision was disappearing on me – that was the one and only time I’ve asked for my husband to come home.

If you don’t have a support network, then think about fostering relationships – perhaps have a mutual agreement with a friend whereby you can both rely on each other in extraordinary circumstances.


3. Let it go
If you can – let it go. Forget the washing. Forget the messy house. Forget the rules about no TV. Just let it all go and try to relax as much as you can. Pop a DVD on, or let your child play on a device. In the past, when I was suffering with horrible morning-sickness, I gave my child the tablet and she sat in bed with me while I tried to have a nap. It kind of worked, kind of didn’t – but it was still a break.


4. Prepare
Have a contingency plan in place for if you get sick. Prepare a “sick day” activity box with colouring in pages, felt pens, stickers, a DVD, even snacks. Have it set up ALL before you get sick so you can whip it out. Kmart have a wonderful in-store range of affordable activities for kids – I highly recommend you check it out if you can.

If you have a baby, prepare a heuristic play basket – this means “real world” items for a baby to play with: teaspoons, measuring cups, pegs, pinecones, wooden spoons … check out Captured Earth Heuristic Play for brilliant ideas / baskets that you can buy.

Also check out my Activities for Kids page – a lot of these are REALLY easy to set up and require little to no brain work (HAHA) …


5. Keep the routine
Try as much as possible to keep your child’s routine the same. This will keep things on track and allow you to relax more knowing that your child feels secure in the knowledge that not much else has changed – keep naps / meal times / bed times the same, if possible.


6. Don’t worry
Don’t worry about how much time your child is spending on a device, or about the fact that they haven’t had a 3 course meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner – they will survive. During this time it’s important for you to focus on YOU (as much as you can) and try and get better.


7. Look after yourself
In amongst all this worry about keeping an eye on your kid, and making sure they’re ok – don’t forget to actually stop and look after yourself. Sit down, and try to rest. Eat as much as you can. Drink water, or warm liquids (especially if you have a sore throat). Go and see a doctor if you need to – or call Healthline if you’re concerned (0800 611 116). Don’t be a martyr!


Ultimately, a lot of us aren’t in a position to “forget” about stuff. Or even take any kind of break – so we just suck it up and continue. We let a few things slide (like tidying the house immediately) but everything else must be done. The laundry in our house is never ending – and even when I’m sick, it still gets done.

Just don’t be too hard on yourself – you don’t HAVE to do everything. Some things can wait until the next day, when you may be feeling a little better …

What do you do when you’re sick?



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