As parents, it is in our nature to want to protect our children. It is very hard to watch them fight any illness, whether it’s serious or a simple cold. It’s common to feel a mix of emotions when your child is sick, including fear, sadness, and anger. You might even try to pinpoint exactly where your child picked up the illness. Since the common cold, for example, can be caused by over 200 different viruses, it is impossible to know exactly when your child contracted the virus. What you can do is take control of your own emotions and use different coping mechanisms to help you be strong for your child as they recover.
The CDC says 22 million school days are lost each year in the U.S. because of colds, flus, and other common infections. With staggering statistics such as this, you will likely encounter several viruses throughout your little one’s childhood. The hardest part of your child getting sick is feeling like you have no control over the situation. You may even find yourself wishing that you were sick instead. In order to regain a small sense of control, focus on what you can control. You can help your child feel better by comforting them and coming up with simple activities to help cheer them up (check out our “Recipe for a Better Sick Day” blog). You can teach your child about how germs spread and the importance of washing their hands. You can find some fun ideas on how to do so in our blog, “Keep the Germs Away”. You can take the necessary steps to help your child recover quickly and remember that with each virus they get, the stronger their immune system will be.
One-third of parents of young children are concerned about losing jobs due to time missed at work from caring for sick kids. While it is incredibly stressful balancing work and raising a family, it is important to keep your child home from school when they are sick. This will help the disease from spreading to other children, and if everyone follows this standard, it will reduce the amount of time needed off from work. If you really can’t take time off work, It’s important to thoroughly understand your child care provider’s sick policy. Most schools and daycares require children to be fever-free and / or on antibiotics for a full 24 hours before returning to school. If at all possible, it is a good idea to have a backup sick day child care provider who you trust. You may also want to try talking with your manager about working from home when you’re on a tight deadline but can’t make it into the office.
While sickness is unfortunately an inevitable part of having kids, remember to always be prepared, have a back up plan, and accept what you can, and cannot, control. Just remember that you are doing a great job and your little one will be better before you know it!