Winter is coming, Persephoneers. Winter is coming.
I was inspired to get the House of Juniper ready for the possibility of sickness bugs when I read this post from Kids Activities Blog on surviving sick kids. Last night, Juniper Junior threw up. So now he’s off school for a couple of days and our preparations for sickness bugs have really taken form, so I’m sharing what we’ve done and if you have tips of your own, I hope you can share them!
First and foremost:
- Towels (big and small)
- Laundry box
The need for towels and flannels is to mop up kids and for them to sit or lie on whilst the mopping up continues. A blanket to sling round them is helpful, too. Ours are big fleece blankets: they’re warm, easy to wash, and quick to dry. As a big kid, Juniper Junior has often had vomit cleaned up off the bed, a fresh sheet has been put down, and then a towel. This means if he’s sick again, the towel can be whipped off and there’s still a clean bed underneath and another towel can be put on. When he was smaller, for safety, I didn’t leave towels on the bed. What we have always done since he was tiny (and all year round) is use mattress protectors. They’re all sorts of wonderful. The big box is for the puked on towels, bedding and clothes. Perhaps if the kids are so kind as to puke near where laundry is done, towels, etc. can be put in a laundry basket or washing machine to await the morning washing cycle. If not, it’s simplest to get it out of the way and contained. So a big plastic box stops anything from spreading onto carpeting, toys, clothes and is big enough to take a whole bed-worth of linen and a pair of pyjamas. The box is also great for storing the towels and blankets.
- Pain relief
- Pain relief diary
- Rehydration sachets
- Medicine dummy/pacifier (Amazon UK/Amazon US)
- Essential oils
It’s wise to keep the medicine cabinet stocked all year round, but during winter especially, it’s worth making sure that you have age-appropriate pain relief in there. This year we’re also keeping rehydration sachets in there, too. Does it need to be said? Yes! Make sure to read labels properly and keep medicines out of children’s reach. One of our family methods for coping with illness is to have a “pain relief diary.” It’s a day-to-view diary that we note down the following in: child, type of medicine, dose, time (using 24 hour clock). This means that when tired and possibly ill ourselves, Mr. Juniper and I know exactly what the boys have had and when. We have used it for ourselves, too, at times. The medicine dummy is something we discovered with Little Juniper. Neither of the boys have had a “normal” dummy, but the medicine dummy is worth its weight in gold. Essential oils aren’t for everyone, but I keep lavender oil around to pop on the bottom edge of the duvet cover or sheets and it’s another little way of trying to create a soothing environment amongst all the, well, vomiting.
- Audio books
- Gentle music
- MP3/iPod/tablet etc
When little ones are ill (and frankly when big ones are ill, too), it can be hard to stay calm and relax after the distress of vomiting or diarrhoea (among other things). This is where we’ve often found audio books and gentle music like Mozart really beneficial to everyone’s stress levels. Audio books we love are the Percy Jackson books, The Large Family, and How to Train Your Dragon series. As for music, Mozart for Mothers-to-be (Amazon UK/Amazon US) has been played many a time.
- Antibacterial wipes
- Disposable gloves
- Kitchen roll
- Toilet roll
This doesn’t need much explanation, does it? Unpleasant things are often much easier to deal with when wearing gloves and when it comes to different surfaces, there’s a need for different equipment. Keep door handles clean with wipes. Mop up what needs mopped up with kitchen roll. Keep tissues on hand for bawling kids and snotty noses. This is not the time to be overly concerned with the environment. If you want to use all washable cloths, then go for it. We are all about reusing. Just not when it comes to dealing with vomit and diarrhoea. As for toilet roll? Stock up. You don’t want a winter bug as a reminder that you’re on your last roll.
Look after yourself, too. Once the kids are sleeping (or the big one who snores and steals the blankets), make sure to take some time for yourself. Illness is rough on everyone, and it’s worth taking the time to relax, even if for five minutes, before crawling back to bed.
We didn’t get an ear thermometer until Little Juniper came along. They are fantastic: quick to use and relatively stress free. We’ve often used them on the boys once they’ve finally fallen asleep. It means we can keep an eye on an important symptom without causing distress. Throws: your furniture will thank you. Having bottles around that kids can drink from easily are so helpful when they’re ill. Keeping hydrated is important and making that easier is even better. Needless to say, it’s worth having a few buckets/basins that can be on hand for kids that can’t make it to the bathroom in time.
So there you are, Persephoneers. This is our way of surviving bugs. How do you survive the dreaded winter bugs?
N.B. This page “Does your child have a serious illness?” is full of excellent information from the NHS.