How To Get Sh!t Done With Sick Kids

by Renee Greenland

Winter is here … which pretty much equals sick kid season right?! I can sense all parents cringing at the thought because it also means time off work.

It’s a constant struggle when you have kids really! Most employed parents use all their sick leave for looking after their sick kids and when they themselves get sick, they solider on and go to work.

It’s even harder when your work situation might not have the flexibility or understanding and put extra pressure on you to keep delivering at your job while you try and get your kids healthy and back to school/kindy/daycare.

Whether you work for yourself, someone else or you’re a S.A.H.M (Stay At Home Mum), having a sick kid can be a real pain the butt. We love our kids dearly and want to be there for them when they are unwell, but most of us feel the strain of having to get stuff done while being nurse too.

My W.A.H.M Situation

I’m a W.A.H.M (Work At Home Mum) and now that both boys are in care three days a week, when they are sick and have to stay home, I have a little panic attack. ‘I’ve got so much work to do … the boys always want my attention when they are home . . .  I only get three days a week to work now I’ve only got one . . .  I’m going to get so behind . . .  I don’t want them spending all day on the iPad . . .  but OMG, I need to get stuff done!’

As a side note, Phil works full time for someone else and is super supportive but it is generally assumed that if the kids are sick, they stay home with me. Which sometimes gets my back up because he gets paid sick leave. I don’t. Moving on . . .  

Contagious Viruses Are The Worst

A few months ago, Mitch had to be home for a WHOLE WEEK with some contagious spotty rash. He was fine otherwise . . .  just covered in spots. My first reaction was, ‘Sh!t. How am I going to get any work done?’ He’s two and a half, doesn’t stop from the second he wakes till the moment his head hits the pillow at night, and he’s not that sick . . .  not sick enough to sleep all day anyway. Cr@p!

Once I resided myself to the fact that I needed to suck it up and deal with it, I decided to make good of the situation and come up with some ‘time chunk’ solutions. By that I mean ways I could get half an hour, uninterrupted chunks of time to get some tasks done.

As I was writing all this stuff down, I thought to myself, ‘This sh!t is GOLD. All parents need these ideas . . .  even if only one is helpful!’

So here they are . . .


Five Tips to Getting Sh!t Done While Kids Are At Home Sick

TIP 1 ~ Fill Their Love Cup

Give your child some loving and attention for an hour (maybe less depending on your child). Explain ‘the deal’ by telling them you’ll give them your undivided attention for an hour, then you need to do 30 minutes of uninterrupted work while they do something by themselves. Fill this ‘love cup’ time with cuddles, reading books, things your child loves to do with you.

This might sound a bit Woo-Woo but it works for me and my boys!

It’s inevitable that our kids will get sick and need to be home. We just need to remember to try and be flexible and go with it. I’m mainly talking to myself here!

TIP 2 ~ Ask and Say Yes For Help

Phil is SO good at trying to share the load and we are lucky his work environment is pretty flexible. He can work from home if needed and make up time that way.

When the boys are home sick, he will go to work earlier than usual and leave work around 3pm. He’ll come home and take over, which includes cooking dinner. This means I can get a solid couple of hours of work done before helping with the bedtime routine.

Here’s the thing . . . he will ask me if that will be helpful because I’m terrible at asking him for help. I’m Supermum and can do everything myself right?! Wrong.

If your partner can’t help in this way, perhaps ask grandparents or other family members for help. I know it’s easier said than done but people really do want to help!

TIP 3 ~ Start Your Day Earlier or Finish Later

If you know your child is going to be home sick, get up an hour or so earlier than normal. Ideally an hour before everyone else gets up for the day. With that uninterrupted time, focus on your most thought-required tasks. If you work for someone else, you might use this time to log in and check urgent emails.

And then at the other end of the day, do an extra hour of work once the kids are in bed. My advice here is to not work too late incase you end up having a rough night with your sick child. You don’t want to loose too much sleep!

TIP 4 ~ Use Their Rest/Sleep Time

If your child is still having day sleeps, you can obviously use that time to get stuff done. The same applies if your child is that sick that they need to sleep to get better. And the whole point of being home sick is to rest right?!

If your child doesn’t need sleep, they can have rest time. Perhaps after lunch or mid afternoon. At this point you’re probably going to use TV or the iPad. And don’t feel guilty about it . . . please! Do what works best for your child, whether that’s playing their favourite movie (if you know they’ll watch it till the end) or trying different iPad apps that require thinking.

Check out the Toca Boca apps. Some are free! My boys LOVE Toca Monsters, Toca Band, Toca Hair Salon and Robot Lab. And also check out the iPad timer app too. So if you get carried away getting tasks done, they don’t end up spending two hours on the iPad.

TIP 5 ~ The Sick Day Box

Have a secret Sick Day Box stashed away for times like these!

The trick with this one is that the activities need to be new and a novelty. This is a box that only gets pulled out on sick days and always has new and exciting things inside. Why? How many toys does your child have that they could play with but don’t because it’s old or boring now?

Consider things like read-along-books for younger kids, activity books, puzzles . . . things your child can sit and do by themselves.

I would love to hear your tips for getting stuff done with sick kids at home. Please comment below 🙂

Until next time, look after yourself!

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