What do you do to entertain your kids when they are too-sick-to-go-outside but not-sick-enough-to-lie-passively on-the-couch? Or when one is sick and the other is bored silly?
What are some alternatives to TV-watching for little kids (under three) when Mommy is too sick to do anything but lie on the couch?
These questions are brought to you by Keryn.
A few answers can be found on Tuesdays past.Â I had a great answer to the first part of the question but then I read the second part and was all…um…TV-free…of coouuurse.
1. Buckets — Obviously you’d want a barf bucket handy.Â Another good one is a bucket, bowl or Rubbermaid tote full of beans (preferably uncooked) and some cups and scoops to dig with.Â They love it and the beans are easier to clean up than sand or rice.
2. Finger painting with pudding.Â You can choose colored varieties like banana, chocolate, butterscotch and pistachio or you can just use vanilla and color it with food coloring.Â Have them paint on LARGE paper or plates and then can lick themselves off.Â I discourage cross-contamination by “helping” each other get clean, especially if only one is sick.
3.Â Make them clean.Â Like the other two, I have used this.Â When I just can’t get up off the couch, I have Laylee clean her room which takes anywhere from 1 to 10 hours.Â There’s a lot of whining but I can handle that in a semi-narcoleptic state.
4.Â Tell them they’re your mommy.Â When I’m sick, I like to have Laylee pretend she’s my mommy.Â She covers me with blankets, reads me stories, brushes my hair and sings to me.Â I encourage the singing so if it stops, I know to freak out and go searching for body parts.Â
I’m sure you all can do better than this.Â Please answer Keryn’s question so I can steal your ideas next time one of us goes down.
reasons: 83 more sleeps, Papa Murphy, spider-cide spray in my crawlspace
Am I seriously the first commenter? Wow. I’m feeling the pressure to say something good, but I’m too tired to really care all that much.
I love your ideas, especially the beans. We may have to try that on my non-sick kids tomorrow! I may hold you responsible for any beans up the nose though. Sorry.
Depending on the sickness I find a bath fills a good hour if you add toys, bubbles, drying songs, lotion, etc. I also enjoy this lovely activity when I’m too sick to chase her around. At least in the bathtub she’s contained.
I loved the ideas, I’ll have to try the bean one, and the reverse mommy is something I’d never thought of. But maybe it’s my guilty mother conscience talking when I ask, “Is it so wrong to stick them in front of the T.V. all day if you’re sick and dying?” It’s not good any other days, but can I get away with it on one or two days a year? Especially if you don’t let them watch normally, then the day you need it it’s more of a novelty. Am I bad? Worry worry worry. . .
When my boys were really small and I was exhausted, I locked the kiddie gate on a room with nothing they could hurt and went to sleep on the floor. They used me as a jungle gym, even sitting on my head. I mostly just slept through it.
I had a son who loved coloring, so we would do that.
Also, I grew up getting popsicles and Sprite when we were sick, to keep the liquids up. When you are sick enough, eating a popsicle takes a long time. (Put a big towel on their lap to catch drips.)
Sing. My mom sang with us and to us when we were little and we sang, too. Now, when I am too sick to move and too bored to stay still, I sing. It makes me feel better.
I had totally forgotten I’d asked those questions, but I am SO SO grateful that they made it into a Tip Tuesday. We just found out that our third baby–due in December–has spina bifida, so all the great ideas about what to do with sick kids and bored kids are especially welcome and relevent, considering all the time we’ll be caring for our little baby bug.
One thing I’ve done is have a little bag or box of toys that the kids don’t see all the time. They can spend up to an hour just playing quietly with those things when I only get them out once in a blue moon. And I’m in the process of making little toy boxes (pencil boxes seem the right size) with interesting stuff (clothespin dolls, big beads with strings, colored pencils and stencils) for the long car trips we’ll be taking after the baby is born–Primary Children’s Hospital is not quite two hours away, and that’s where the spina bifida clinic is. The idea is that the two older kids get to choose a box each to play with on the trip. I’ll have to let you know how those work out.
I let my kids draw on my legs with washable markers. And then I hide them, the markers that is. Then I wear a long skirt to church!
The Lazy Organizer says
I”ve been known to withhold the Ibuprofen. If they’re too sick to get off the couch then they’re too sick to whine about not playing outside.
Heather from One Woman's World says
This was probably the best thing that I learned in motherhood:
It is okay to call a friend to help you out if you’re sick. If I was the one who was sick, I pawned my kids off on others, knowing that I would do the same for the other mom when her time came. If it didn’t come soon, I took her kids so that she could have a free day.
If one of your kids is sick, then pawn the well kid off and tend to the sick one.
Most people don’t ask because they think they are imposing on others. I’d say that 9.8 times out of 10, I’ve gotten (and given) an understanding yes when help was needed. Most people want to help others; they just need to be told how to help and that they are allowed.
Oh Keryn! You sound so much more collected than I would in your place. Bless you and your soon-to-be-here sweet baby.
Don’t forget storytelling, this is something you can do flat on your back and half dead. My girls have been known to correct my cold-med lousy versions of the Three Bears, and I’ve been known to invite them to finish for me… a four year old telling stories? Always entertaining if a little bit like taking hallucinogenics with your cough drops.
amy a. says
When my kids were toddlers I was never above asking my husband to take a sick day to take care of me. By all means, call in reinforcements!
And at one point I had a special bucket full of toys they only got to play with while recuperating. But really, it wasn’t long before I lowered my high ideals and turned the TV back on. Just take it away again when you and they are feeling better.
Keryn, I’ll be praying for you and your baby.
One word. Sorry, it’s true.