Being sick is such a drag. Combine it with parenthood and its 'sickness' has an entirely new meaning. The last thing that people want to do when they're home sick is to take care of another individual, as well as themselves. Though when you're a parent with a toddler, sometimes you have absolutely no choice.
So, whether you're home sick from work or are a stay-at-home-parent who has sadly gotten the flu, we have combined 10 ways to make it a bit easier for you to care for a toddler while you're trying to care for yourself. Read ahead for some *healthy* advice.
10 Freeze Dance
The last thing you want to do while you're home sick with a toddler is dance... let alone move. At all. So, here's a way you can dance AND encourage the toddler to tire themselves for their next nap, which we know you're counting down until.
With a music device (like your phone or computer) at finger's reach, press play for the toddler to dance their little heads off. Show them that once the music stops, they must stop.
This will likely occupy them for hours. Plus, you'll be entertained enough to know you're doing a great job, keeping a toddler happy while you rest your sick head, too.
9 Back Drawing
Have you ever wanted to fall asleep to light scratches on your back? You likely do this to your child at night to calm them down after a long day, so why not have the feeling while you're trying to rest up while home sick?
If you don't mind having to take a long, hot shower afterward, encourage your toddler to take a wash-away marker to your back. Not only will it be fun for your toddler to draw on their parent's back, but it will be very relaxing for you- the sick one- having someone literally draw while you rest and/or nap on the floor. Just make sure they understand not to draw on anything else, other than paper, afterward.
8 Movies And Snacks
Yes, the classic lay-on-the-couch-in-your-pjs-all-day-while-eating-snacks trick. We've all been there. So, if you're desperately in need of some R&R, throw that TV on, bring all the snacks you can think of to bed or the couch, and invite your toddler to come binge-watch their favorite show so mommy or daddy can rest next to them.
It's ok to resort to screens when you absolutely have to. Plus, you'll have your little buddy next to you to relax while you get healthy.
7 Playpen And Balls
If you're like us, playpens are often packed away and used only for emergencies. But here's the thing- it's an emergency! You're home sick with a toddler and have no idea what to do. Your mind is blurred, your eyes can barely see, and you can barely lift the child, let alone play with them. So, fill the dang playpen with balls.
Whether they're all the same size, big and small, let them go wild and free. Ensure there are none that can be put into their mouth, and they'll be rocking in their own ball pit, happy as a clam.
6 Bed Fort
Sometimes we must resort to the easiest solution and if that means making a fort out of your pillows, sheets and extra duvets, then so be it.
Bring along some Netflix, books, toys and snacks and call it a duvet day for the toddler to hang out, while mommy or daddy relaxes.
Tell each other stories, sing songs or just talk about sweet nothings. Bed forts are a great option if you're tired and need somewhere quick and convenient to rest your tired head.
5 Book Nook
Books Nooks are a great, comfortable space to binge read all you want. With your toddler, place as many pillows and comforters that you can into a corner of any given room. Bring as many books as you can to make the most comfortable and welcoming Book Nook possible.
Whether you use this idea just for the night or keep it for the days coming, your Book Nook is a perfect little haven for when you're home sick with a toddler.
4 Cheerio Stack
Now, this is not the cheerio stacking you've seen over all your social media platforms. This is an activity to better your toddler's fine motor skills and have them occupied for hours. Plus, they can have a healthy, little snack if they get bored (or hungry).
With playdough, roll a dozen small balls. Stick a few toothpicks in each one. Demonstrate the game by placing cheerios on each stick until it hits its max. They will be stacking their cheerios until each toothpick is full. This is a great, calming activity for your toddler while you need a solid rest. Just make sure you supervise them, as toothpicks can be sharp.
3 Mailing Cards
Do you have a deck of cards going unused in your junk drawer? Do you also have a cereal box that could be used for a handy activity to keep your toddler occupied while you kiss your sickness goodbye? Well, do we have a game for you!
Slice a long hole, wide enough and long enough for a playing card to slide through, into your cereal box. Explain to your toddler that they must mail letters to their friends. One by one, encourage the toddler to slip the cards into the mail slot. They'll be busy for hours. Or, at least 52 minutes. Then, repeat.
2 Scavenger Hunt
This is not your usual scavenger hunt, that you may play outside or during holidays like Easter. No, this is a scavenger hunt that you've simply thrown together to occupy your toddler until you have some much-needed resting time.
Whether you draw out items on a card or vocally list the items you want them to bring you, give them a list of items they must return to you for their hunt. Items may be 'their blue shoes' or 'mom's sunglasses'- items that they know very well. You may have a pile of random objects by the end of your day, but at least it kept them busy while you rested up!
1 Ask For Help
Yes, we said it. Sometimes we can't do it all on our own, especially if we're not as healthy as we could be. And, especially if we're caring for a toddler.
Whether this means calling in a trusted neighbor or a close family member to come and watch your toddler while you nap, then do it. Put pride aside.
Bite the bullet and pay a friend to come help around the house and just skip out on your coffee runs for next week's morning escape. Do what you have to do in order to get some help while you rest up.