Primary caregivers do not get to take sick leave. It’s just the way it works. Luckily, we have tips to work around that. A tuned in parent in Glendale, California, who was very sick last week while caring for her two young children and her niece, suggests nine savvy activities for the kids that will keep them busy while allowing you to REST!
Let the kids give you a “check-up.”
All of the kids activities revolve around you being able to spend time with the children while relaxing (ideally, lying down). And as seen in the intro photo, you can do just that while the kids engage in creative play as “doctors” giving you a check-up.
This is a great time to get all those sticky toys washed and have the kids do it for you. Get a splat mat (or a vinyl shower curtain will do) and a rubbermaid bin or similar container and announce it’s time to give their toys a bath! You can supervise while resting on the couch.
Indoor or Pretend Picnic!
Kids love picnics, don’t they? This gives you an excuse to prep the easiest, no-cooking-necessary, picnic meal and/or snack for them to enjoy on their indoor picnic. You can eat with them, or watch them from your “picnic bed.”
Paint Their Nails
Another quiet activity that allows you to stay off your feet is painting little nails and/or applying kiddie tattoos. They love it, too! And there are plenty of non-toxic, kid-friendly nail polish and tats just for that!
Let Them Read to You!
Snuggle up on the couch or in bed and let the kids practice reading to you. For younger kids, read-along CDs, DVDs, and apps might be better. Or, if you’re up to it, you can read to them!
Arts & Crafts on the Floor – Everybody, Create and Color!
Crayons, Play-doh, colored pencils and paper, oh my! Put on some music that you all like (you’re not trying to give yourself a headache) and break out that splat mat again. One-by-one introduce arts and crafts activities the kids can do on the floor while you supervise, sitting or lying on the couch or floor.
Note: Let them make a mess with all these activities and let the kids clean it up after each one. Or, if they’re too young, leave it for someone else to clean up (you’re ill, after all). If you’re a single-parent like me, that someone else is you … when you’re feeling better (yay).
Let Them Give You a Puppet Show
Sit back, relax, and watch their imagination and confidence blossom before your red, puffy eyes as they give you a puppet show. Even if you don’t have adorable finger or hand puppets, you can make simple sock puppets, or even draw basic smiley faces on their fingers. Their imagination will do the rest, and you will do the resting.
Puzzles – Quiet Brain Candy!
Keep developmentally-appropriate puzzles on hand, always. And bust them out as often as possible — wonderful, quiet, brain-tickling exercise they are! Flash incentives, if you have to. Puzzles will keep the kids busy while providing them cognitive stimulation and you more time for R&R.
No Shame in Watching TV
If you must crawl into bed and drag your kids with you, do what you gotta to do — that includes everyone cozying up to watch TV. I won’t tell, if you won’t. (Most assuredly the kids will, though.)
A little sick-day screen time is not going to corrupt their child-sized minds. Your priority is to get well while keeping the kids alive. And if you need a little help from Elmo, Dora, or a Disney movie marathon, there’s no judgement here.
Creative Commons Photos:
Pretend Picnic: OakleyOriginals
Indoor Picnic: Micah SittigReading to Mom: woodleywonderworks