As winter rolls around you may notice a spike in the number of colds in your house. Households with children in particular may find the winter months bringing an onslaught of coughs, runny noses and colds, as young children can have up to ten colds every season.
Colds are caused by a virus spread through tiny droplets in the air, such as from sneezing or coughing. Kids may be exposed to a cold virus at daycare or school where they are in close physical contact with other children, often catching a cold before the adults in their family.
Children and colds
There are around 200 different viruses that can cause colds and flus and young children who are still building their immune system may not yet have been exposed to all the different virus strains.
When children get a cold it allows them to build their immunity to many different viruses. However, with so many different viruses that cause colds, it may feel like your children are sick with colds constantly. But in reality, in one winter season your children may be falling sick with different strains.
Keeping your child at home when they’re sick reduces their contact with other children and adults, helping to prevent the virus spreading to others.
What you can do at home
Having a young child sick with a cold at home means that an adult also needs to take time to stay home. However, it doesn’t have to be boring for you or your children.
If you’re at home looking after little ones who have colds, here are ten quiet indoor activities you can try to help occupy your children while they are recovering from their cold.
1. Watch a movie together
Grabbing a warm blanket and snuggling under the covers with your child may be soothing and comforting. If your child is alert and interested, you can also put on their favourite movie to watch together.
2. Read stories
Reading a storybook to your child can occupy and entertain them, and also help put them to sleep for some rest. It’s important for children to get plenty of sleep and rest when they’re sick to help their body fight the cold virus.
3. Make a cubby house with bed sheets
If your child feels up to it, you might try building a fort out of old bed sheets. You can use your dining room chairs as wall supports to hang the sheets and lay a thicker sheet on the floor to lie down together and relax once completed.
4. Meditate together
Meditation is a calming and relaxing technique that can be effective in people young and old, especially when they’re feeling upset or uncomfortable. Calming your child’s mind with soothing words and deep breaths may ease some of their discomfort.
5. Have a long chat on the phone
If you have any extended family available for a chat, you might try to Skype or telephone. Not only is it an opportunity for your child to catch up with their family, it can also give you a welcome break!
6. Listen to some music in bed
Music can be another relaxation tool that can help your sick child fall asleep. Music can be soothing and when played at a low volume with your child in their bed, a soft lullaby can be enough to help fall asleep.
7. Have a steamy warm bath
A blocked or runny nose is another common symptom of having a cold, and a steamy warm bath can ease breathing if your child has a blocked nose. A warm bath is also a fun place for kids to have a little splash and play with some water toys, while keeping them entertained and warm.
8. Make homemade Playdough with peppermint
Homemade Playdough is very easy to make with children. If you add a little peppermint extract, your little chef can inhale the scent and it may have soothing and clearing characteristics. Just keep some tissues handy while you’re making the Playdough to help ensure noses are constantly wiped and reduce the spread of germs into the mixture.
9. Work on a puzzle
Sitting together and working on a puzzle can be relaxing and mental challenging, for both of you! It can help your sick child preoccupy their mind and focus on a task, which also gives you the opportunity to create something with your child.
10. Grab some stickers
Stickers are fun and creative. If you have an unopened sticker book, you can work together to create a collage or a picture using the stickers. Use a theme for your sticker creation based on how your child is feeling about being sick, to give them an opportunity to discuss their feelings.