You’ve sprayed. You’ve cleaned. You’ve used tons and tons of hand sanitizer…and yet, your children, somehow, have gotten sick. Regardless of what you do, the reality is that germs are always around. We try to take every possible precaution to keep our family safe and healthy with hopes that, if someone gets sick, it will only be one child at a time. Well, it doesn’t always happen that way, and on occasion, all of the children come down with an illness at the same time…almost in unison. Sounds daunting to be tasked with caring for two, four or even more, sick children all at once. Just the thought could make you shriek with fear. But, before you get too anxious about how to handle things, consider the following tips for managing a household full of sick children:
Stay positive: That will likely be the hardest part of this whole ordeal. You will have so much to do as you tend to the needs of each child that you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Try to focus on what you can do and not so much on what you cannot control. Reality will set in, very quickly, that you have your hands full. However, try to remember that you don’t have to feel like you can “fix” everybody immediately. Putting unnecessary pressure on yourself will only make you feel worse. Sing, meditate, pray, or whatever helps you to remain calm. Now is the time to stay uplifted and encouraged.
Be proactive: Keep cleaning and health supplies on hand. Helpful items include cool patches for fever and sanitizing cleansers. Also, consider keeping a couple of sets of emergency bedding in storage because they will definitely be an asset during times of sickness. Those who are afflicted often sweat profusely or soil their own bedding with their bodily fluids. It won’t matter if they’re old sheets and blankets. Having them could be real lifesavers.
Protect your home and the children from each other: If the children are vomiting, cover the floors and valuable furnishings with plastic tarps, newspaper, or rolls of shop towels. Do what you can to protect your furniture and keep things as clean as possible. Keep sanitizing spray handy in each room so that you can clean immediately and help protect the children from infecting or re-infecting each other.
Eat well: Arm yourself with nutritions foods and take in immunity enhancing drinks. Immunity enhancing drinks include teas and those high in vitamin C. Caregivers should stay well hydrated so that you can continue to help your children. If you are physically run down, caring for the children may become impossible.
Ask for help: Having to care for more than one child may be too much for you. If you find that you are totally overwhelmed, get help. That doesn’t make you a less capable parent or anything like that. It just means that the job requires more than one person can give. You are a parent, not a superhero. Try to keep that in perspective.
Section your home into “situation” rooms: One child may not handle their illness the same as the other. If space permits, have designated areas where they can feel most comfortable. For instance, one room may be a little cooler than another, or more dimly lit. Some spaces may be for those who are able to sit up and deal with noise, whereas other areas may be deemed quiet areas for those who just need rest. You may need to use areas of your home in different ways. Be open and consider your family’s needs.
Beyond all of this, remember that this bout of sickness will only last a little while and life will go back to normal. So, do your best to face the challenge of having to care for multiple sick children with patience and perspective. When it’s all over, you may learn that you were a lot more resilient that you may have realized.