How to Prepare for a Sick Day & Make a Kids Sick Day Plan


Mother and child reading a book in bed

Especially during cold and flu season, having to stay home from daycare or school is more of a matter of “when” than “if.” Even parents of healthy children need to be prepared for the occasional kids sick day and know what needs to be done when staying home is the best option.

Here are some tips for making a sick day plan for children, including what to have on-hand at the house, activities for sick toddlers, and babysitting sick child backup plans. Don’t get caught off-guard next time a cold strikes and one or more members of the household aren’t feeling well!

What to Have On-Hand for a Kids Sick Day

In an effort to not be caught off-guard by sickness, it’s a smart idea to have pediatrician and any specialist doctor contact information readily available, including a backup doctor if the primary one isn’t taking appointments that day. It’s also a good idea to have a stocked medicine cabinet with trusted kids’ cold remedies, like Pedicare, to avoid having to run out to the pharmacy at the last minute. Basic cold supplies, such as facial tissues, cough drops, and herbal tea, are also good to have around the house at all times.

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Sick Day Activities for Kids

Keeping little ones entertained and happy when they’re sick can be a big challenge, which is why parents and caregivers will want to plan ahead activities for sick toddlers and even older school-age kids. For days when playing outside or being overly active aren’t good ideas, try to tap into the child’s creative side and encourage coloring, drawing, and other artistic creations. Reading books, watching movies, and playing board games are also fun ways to spend a sick day. If the child isn’t terribly sick, getting outside for a low-key walk can provide some fresh air and a nice change of scenery from the couch and bed. Make sure to surround the little one with favorite stuffed animals, dolls, and toys to make the sick day plan feel more engaging and fun.

Preventing the Spread of Germs

Parents often get so caught up in taking care of their sick kids that they forget to take precautions for themselves. To prevent cold transfer in a family, use extra caution on the second and third days of a child’s cold because this is when the cold is most contagious. Make a point to wash hands more often than usual when taking care of a sick child. Other sick day plan ideas for keeping germs under control include washing sheets and towels, cleaning baby toys, disinfecting doorknobs and other commonly used surfaces, and avoiding the sharing of eating utensils.

Sick Child Babysitting Planning

For parents who work and have busy schedules, it is also a good idea to establish relationships with a few reliable caregivers for babysitting sick child purposes. When an unexpected illness occurs, a trusted babysitter can really save the day. In advance of any sickness, have honest conversations with all babysitting candidates to inquire about their abilities and willingness to care for sick kids.

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