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As we approach the winter it’s a good time to prepare for the possibility of sickness in the family. It happens to all of us occasionally, we catch a bug that’s going around and before we know it we are in bed. All day.
In our house, it typically starts with one of the kids and works its way around until Mom gets it. This place can’t run well for long without Mom! Who is going organize the meals and make sure the homework gets done? Nope, we mothers need to stay well, but it’s not always in our hands.
Mom, with some preparation you can get a couple of days of rest and the kids can take care of things while you’re healing. Of course, this won’t work for babies. They can’t take care of themselves no matter how much you prepare. That’s when you lean on your friends or your husband takes a day off of work. Look, life happens. See it as an opportunity to bless someone by allowing them to serve you (something I am terrible at!).
But for the kids over 3 years old, they can take care of most things for a couple of days. You will have to lift your head occasionally to check on them and do a few small tasks, but you can make it a lot easier on yourself if you have some supplies in place for that dreaded sick day.
- Food – We always keep some quick fix foods on hand that are exclusively for sick days. Crackers, cheese cubes (which can be frozen), nuts, cereal, canned fruit and beef jerky are all food that can be stored for long periods of time and don’t require cooking. I keep ours in a sealed bin at the top of the pantry and pull it out when I am sick (otherwise someone eats it when no one is sick!). If you don’t have this, make a list of foods that someone can pick up for you at the store like bread, bananas, peanut butter and yogurt so the kids can get eat without cooking. If they’re old enough they can fix their own simple lunch. If not, it is still easy for you to do with almost no clean up.
- Books – I have taught my kids to love books and I keep some up on a high shelf and can pull them out when I need to rest. For the little ones, a book like Count My Blessings 1-2-3” is perfect because it has some fun movable parts and if you’ve read it to them before, they will know where to count as they turn the pages. For the middles, try “Duck Commander Devotions for Kids” by Korie Robertson. It’s adorable! And the older kids might like “Dream Treaders,” by Wayne Thomas Batson as the first book in a trilogy (I find mine need trilogies because they read so quickly!
- Toys – I have, for as long as I can remember, had s few toy sets tucked away for an emergency. Believe me, needing something new for the kids to do can be an actual emergency when you are ill. This would include good toys, not free stuff from their Happy Meals. Think of Christmas and how you don’t see the kids for hours after they open their presents. This is a similar concept, only it’s not a gift and these toys will get put away again in a day or two. Sets like Legos and Playmobile are good for this.
- DVDs – In our home we only let the kids watch a movie once a week, so when sickness hits the house I don’t feel so bad that they are watching shows all day long for a few days. I like to buy new ones during the holidays when they go on sale and tuck them away for a time when the kids really need to be kept occupied. Also, think outside of the box and get a few that teach Bible lessons like those at Thomas Nelson.
- Little Helper Prizes – Teach your kids to help you by having a little chart made up in advance to play “Mommy’s Little Helper.” You can make a list of helpful things for them to do and offer prizes for the amount of points they get at the end of the day. I keep a box of prizes with the toys from #3. As they do these activities, give them a tally mark in the box and at the end of the day add them up. Each mark is a point and they get prizes at the end of the day. Ten points gets a prize from the box. Prizes will be things from the dollar store like a roll of tape, piece of candy, some string, a fun eraser, teeny spiral notebook, etc. This will help to make them aware of helping plus do some of the thinking for you.
I’ve made a Mommy’s Little Helper sheet for you to get started….just download and print!
Truthfully, there is no way you will be able to sleep all day while you recover, you’re just too important in these little people’s lives to be out of it for long. But being ready with these ideas will make it a LOT easier for you (and them!).
Bless all you mommies who will deal with sickness this winter. I am praying for you!