How to Survive Being Home with a Sick Child

When your child is sick enough to stay home from school but not sick enough to sleep all day, it’s time to get creative with indoor activities. Here are a few ideas to help your child (and you!) cope with being cooped up.

Read together
Even older children who can read on their own often enjoy being read to when they’re sick. Read a few chapters from a favorite book or try something new, like a book of jokes.

Pull out the family photo albums
Younger children will enjoy reliving visits with grandparents, exciting trips, and the time they met Santa Claus. Older children might be willing to help you put unsorted photographs into a new album or burn a DVD of video footage.

Make art
Younger children might like coloring books, while older ones can draw pictures or try crossword puzzles.

Scavenger hunt
Hide objects around the house in fairly easy places, and have your child hunt them down.

Get some fresh air
If it’s not freezing, windy, or raining, take a stroll outdoors. Fresh air and getting the circulation moving can reinvigorate sick bodies.

Pull out a new video game or a craft activity that your child hasn’t yet tried.

Watch a movie
This is a special treat, especially for kids whose parents limit screen time.

Playing with clay or a kind of playdough can be a relaxing activity for kids, especially if you warm it first in the microwave.

When children are sick, often what they mostly want is parental affection. Take advantage of the unexpected time together to bond.


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