When little ones feel unwell with coughs, sore throats and blocked / runny noses, it can be a particularly stressful time for mums, dads and caregivers.
Children’s cough brand Tixylix has teamed up with Dr Amanda Gummer – Child Psychologist to provide some essential tips on how to best comfort your kids when they are not feeling their best.
- Familiar routines can help. They give children a sense of normality and reassure them that everything is ok. Young children have little concept of time, so it is useful to schedule with them planned activity in terms of ‘in x many sleeps’ or ‘after breakfast / lunch’ for instance.
- When young children are ill, often they seek comfort. Indulge this by bringing down from the loft any favourite toys or books that you have recently put away, and dig out familiar movies to cuddle up on the sofa and watch together.
- Give them lots of love and attention when they ask for it. And listen to how they are feeling, and what they would like to do with their day. Try to resist the urge to smother them, they may just want some time on their own. There are lots of toys and games that provide opportunities for children to play quietly – construction toys, or imaginative play with small characters can work well and there are lots more suggestions in the Good Play Guide.
- Sleep is very important when they are not feeling well. If they have recently stopped having their afternoon nap, it might be a good idea to make time for this so they can recharge and ‘heal’. Giving them their favourite cuddly toy may encourage them to curl up and sleep if they need it – even if it’s not in their own bed.
- Read stories to them. Children love being transported to another land, and by taking on of the various characters personas, this will allow them to escape their feeling of unwell to some extent. They’ll also enjoy the closeness of a cuddle on your knee whilst listening to the tales.
- There’s a lot of pressure on parents regarding the amount of screen time children are allowed. Of course, allowing children to sit in front of the TV or an iPad for hours on end isn’t healthy, but there are benefits of giving the children some down time. Why not watch a favourite film or TV programme, particularly when they are not feeling their best, this can outweigh any negative effects. However, you can adopt principles of the ‘balanced play diet’ to keep your child amused as much as possible, for example encouraging a variety of active and imaginative play, board games, educational toys along with some passive screen time.
- And of course, most importantly, lots of cuddles!