WHEN THEY'VE GOT THE SNIFFLES - MOM TO MOM ADVICE FOR WHEN THE KIDS ARE SICK
Thankfully we haven't had anything super serious, but when it comes to the sniffles, I've seen it all. We have two preschool aged children and a baby and when one gets sick... Let's just say we've been to the doctor many times this winter. Hospitalised twice this year alone.
Here are some of the things that I have learned:
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about the best age appropriate immune boosters and tonics to take. I've found that if I can keep the older kids healthy, the little one stays healthy. It's much easier to keep the older ones healthy simply because there are so many more options when it comes to over the counter medicine and boosters. The less bugs to do the rounds, the better!
Remember to wash hands often to try and avoid cross-contamination when someone is sick. I keep a bottle of liquid hand sanitiser on the kitchen counter for that purpose.
BLOCKED OR RUNNY NOSES ARE THE FIRST SIGN - TAKE ACTION QUICKLY!
A blocked or runny nose can quickly turn into a cough. Take action before it goes to the tonsils, lungs or ears.
With three small kids (two still in nappies) it can be hard to keep tabs on who gets what medicine and when, especially when I'm feeling under the weather as well.
My youngest has a reactive respiratory system, so he gets really sick really quickly and has to take a couple of different things regardless of whether he is sick.
I've had to become super organised in order to stay on top of things. Here are a couple of strategies that work well for me:
KEEP IT ALL TOGETHER IN ONE PLACE
i store all of the medication we own in one place so that it's out of reach of children, but easily accessible to my husband and myself. One of the top cupboards in the kitchen works well for us.
SORTING AND LABELING
We sorted and labeled containers with categories so that I know exactly where everything is. When I ask my husband to bring something, I can say it's the large bottle of whatever in the container labeled "Colds and Flu Kids" and he will know exactly where to go. Here are the categories that I use:
Colds and Flu - Adults
Colds and Flu - Kids
Pain and Fever - Adults
Pain and Fever - Kids
Nausea and Tummy
Nebuliser (accessories and medication)
KEEP NOTES AND PRESCRIPTIONS HANDY
If I have any notes or prescriptions that I can still use, I stick them to the inside of the medicine cupboard with masking tape. Not so pretty, but super useful. I even have some notes written on masking tape!
Every time I take a sick child to the doctor, I ask how much paracetamol and ibuprofen they're allowed for their weight. It sometimes differs from the amounts on the containers. I then keep a note of that stuck to the inside of the cupboard as well. I don't want to wonder about how much Panado to give at 2am!
I try and get everyone's medicine ready while the children are asleep or otherwise occupied. It's so easy to lose track of where I am when someone continuously asks for a snack or needs a nappy change. I try to remain focused until I am done.
GIVE EACH CHILD'S MEDICINE IN THEIR OWN CONTAINER
I have separate coloured containers for each older child's medicine. They know which one to take and are able to drink their medicine without being supervised.
USE A CALENDAR TO KEEP TRACK
It can be hard to remember who started what medicine on which day, especially if the children fall sick a couple of days apart. I use a calendar to mark who started which medicine and for how long.
WHEN THEY DON'T WANT TO TAKE THE MEDICINE
I realise that this won't work for everyone, but the following strategy has worked well for me:
Give them the best tasting thing last, even if you keep vitamin C bears just for that purpose.
If something tastes bad, never tell them it tastes good. I will say "Eeeeu! This is that horrible one you didn't like yesterday. Let's take it quickly and then take a better tasting one." I pull faces while they take the medicine and then cheer them afterwards on for taking it bravely.
If it's really, really horrible meds, I will give them a sweet afterwards and tell them how brave they were for taking them.
REMEMBER TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF TOO
I would love to say that you should get sufficient rest, exercise, eat healthy food and drink enough fluids. But I know how the reality of life with small children!
Remember to take care of yourself, dear Mama. Drink your vitamins and don't wait too long before driving yourself to the doctor.
THERE IS HOPE
Did you know that it's completely normal for a preschool aged child to pick up 7-12 viruses in a year? That is ridiculous and unfortunately there isn't much we can do. I have however found that as the kiddies get bigger, their immune systems grow stronger and it gets easier. Some say from the age of three, but for us I could see a huge difference by the age of two. Just hang in there Mama. It gets easier! Here is some more inspiration if you're feeling really overwhelmed right now: DEAR OVERWHELMED MOM