Over the years I’ve noticed that my kids have a knack for contracting every virus the local playground may have to offer. I don’t really understand how it happens. I’ve always carried hand sanitizer; the kids always wash their hands before they eat, and neither of them is a thumb sucker. Despite all of this, I have become a fairly scrappy mom-nurse in my own right.
One does not navigate the murky waters of endless toddler viruses without learning a thing or two. For this I feel compelled to share my most handy sick day hacks you won’t hear at the doctor’s office.
- The fun of shaving cream: It’s not a secret that a long, steamy shower can help clear congestion before bed. As good as it is, if your kids are like mine, they aren’t willing to stay put without encouragement. For this I use shaving cream and paint brushes. Demonstrate how to spray the shower walls and use the paint brush to spread it around.
- Tie the hair back: If your children have runny noses and long hair, be sure to pull their hair back into a braid or a bun before bed. The only thing worse than combing regularly tangled hair is combing tangled hair with dried snot throughout. I let my kids play with my phone to distract them while I braid. In this case the end justifies the means in my house.
- Lasagna sheets: Stomach bug hit? Be proactive by making the bed with a mattress pad, puppy pad and a sheet. To that add another puppy pad and sheet. Repeat as many times as you like. This way if your kid gets sick in the middle of the night you aren’t tasked with remaking the whole bed. You need only pull off the top layers and pop them in the wash.
- Diaper cream on the nose: Despite the facial tissue company’s best efforts, there’s really no way to prevent a red, sore nose once we’re saddled with a cold. For my kids, I take a little diaper cream and put it on their nose throughout the day. I find it protects and treats the irritation the same way it does on their diapered toosh.
- Sucker cough drops: These are tricky to find at the drugstore but they’re there and they’re fantastic. I can usually spot them in the children’s cold remedy section. If you have trouble, ask the clerk.
- Keep the empty tissue box: My kids can’t seem to find the trash bin so I take an empty tissue box and rubber-band it to the new box. This way, the “bin” is right there to collect the discarded tissues.
These tips go beyond the advice you’ll get from your pediatrician: lots of fluids, elevate the mattress, humidifier, rest, and so on. These are meant to make home life more manageable when saddled with cold or flu. As moms we need all the help we can get because let’s face it, in a day or two we’ll likely be under the weather, too.