How to Cope with Your Child's Illness

Posted by Shannon Serpette on 1/31/2017 to Parenting Tips
coping with a child's illness

As a parent, there’s no feeling that’s worse than seeing your child sick. Whether it’s the flu or a severe cold bug that’s going around, you feel totally helpless. While there’s not much you can do to speed up the illness, you can keep your child as comfortable as possible and potentially keep complications at bay.

Every parent of an older child has been through the illnesses that frequently hit younger children. From parent to parent, here are a few tips for you to follow the next time your baby is down for the count.

Push Fluids

Giving adequate water during times of sickness is critical to keeping your baby out of the doctor’s office or possibly out of the hospital. Dehydration can happen quickly with a sick baby or toddler, especially if your child is suffering from both vomiting and diarrhea.

Whether they have small, frequent sips of water or several popsicles, make sure your child is getting enough fluids. Look for key signs of dehydration, such as dry, cracked lips or lack of tears when he is crying. If you even suspect your child is dehydrated, take him in to the doctor.

Keep an Eye on Temperature

Sometimes a parent’s first inclination is to give fever-reducing medicine at the first sign of a fever, but as many doctors will tell you, it isn’t necessary at that point. If your child seems comfortable enough and only has a low-grade fever, you can skip fever-reducing medicines and just keep an eye on your child for the time being.

Once a fever starts to spike higher or your child seems uncomfortable, it’s time to give him some medicine.

Try to Get Some Rest

This advice goes for both you and your child. It can be hard to rest when your child is restless. But even if it means inflating an air mattress and sleeping in her room to keep closer watch, you need to try to get some sleep too.

It’s important to keep your immune system up and fighting during this stressful time because your body will likely be exposed to whatever germs are making your child sick.

Be Prepared for the Illness to Make the Rounds

Even with careful cleaning and hand washing, it can be difficult for the rest of the family to avoid the germs that made your child sick. As new parents, we often think we can stop the sickness from spreading to the rest of the family if we’re careful enough.

You may be able to prevent some illness that way, but if your young child is sick, you’re probably fighting a losing battle. Your house has probably become contaminated – after all, young children aren’t the best at covering their coughs and sneezes or thorough hand washing.

Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She can be reached at