The dreaded day has not yet come. That is, flumaggedon: the day when all four of my kids get sick at the exact same time. I’m not sure what’s worse, to be honest: having four sick kids at once or having them each fall sick in quick succession. With cold and flu season looming, my older kids in school and the twins now old enough to participate in a variety of immune-system-building activities, I am sure I’ll have the chance to experience both eventualities! And that is why, just like I’ve started snapping up winter apparel on my local swap and shop while it’s still summer, I’m also making sure I have everything I need to cope with cold and flu season.
As a certain nasty cinematic lion would sing, it’s best to BE PREPARED!
Here are my top 6 tips for managing cold & flu symptoms from toddlers to tweens:
1- Don’t panic. Even if it’s not my first rodeo, I start to freak out when one of my kids is feverish. I always need to remind myself and my husband (who worries even more than I do) that most fevers are just the body doing its job and fighting an infection. Before you make a trip to the emergency room or clinic, contact your provincial nurses’ hotline to go over your child’s symptoms. The nurse is trained to help you assess if it’s safe to treat your little patient at home or if it’s time to see a doctor.
2- Keep them comfortable. As my 7-year-old likes to observe, the best day to get sick is a school day. Being sick on the weekend or spring break (which happened last year) is the worst! I know kids tend to get knocked down by cold or flu at the most inopportune moments (for their caregivers), so we may as well let them enjoy their Netflix without chills!
We keep Children’s Advil Pediatric Drops and Junior Strength Advil Fever From Colds or Flu on hand to relieve pain and reduce fever so our kids can enjoy their bonus screen-time as they get the rest they need to feel better. Advil provides up to 8-hour relief from fever and is available as a liquid suspension or in chewable tablets.
3- Make fluids fun. It can be hard to get kids to drink enough water even on the best of days, but when they’re lethargic from cold or flu symptoms, or a sore throat is making it hard to swallow, it’s even harder!
Children’s Advil Cold helps relieve sore throat pain, and offering beverages and soups in a fun way can help children get the fluids they need. My kids definitely consider it a treat to eat their chicken noodle soup from a mug on the sofa, and they like to stir an ice cub around in their mug to help cool it down. Making ice pops out of their favourite fruit juice is another trick I use to make sure they’re keeping hydrated.
4- Don’t be afraid to suck. Before I became a parent, I shuddered at the mere suggestion of sucking snot from a child’s nose. Spoiler alert: KIDS SUCK AT BLOWING THEIR OWN NOSES! And a congested child is an unhappy child, and since decongestants are not recommended for young children, one of the only ways to stop the snot is to suck it out.
The best nasal aspirator style I’ve tried is the style where you suck with your mouth (snot NEVER enters your mouth if you’re using it properly). But if you can’t handle using your mouth, there are ones that work with a bulb you squeeze and even electric ones. A great time to bust out the snot sucker is after a nice, warm bath when everything’s loosened up a bit. When my children are especially congested, I close the bathroom door and run the shower on super hot to fill the bathroom with steam before using the aspirator.
5- Toss the tissue. As you might know, I’m big into cloth everything: wipes, diapers, napkins … and yes, handkerchiefs. It doesn’t take long for children’s sensitive noses to become red and raw from constant wiping, and this can be prevented easily if you use soft flannel cloths (mine are cut from old pajamas) to wipe instead of traditional facial tissue. My kids refuse to let me wipe their noses with paper wipes because cloth is so much gentler. I also moisturize under and around their noses.
6- Bring on the snuggles. Once the snot is sucked, the sore throat, fever and aches have been relieved with Children’s Advil and fluids have been enjoyed in sufficient quantity, it’s time for cuddles. As you know, I love to babywear, and up until about age 3, wearing my sick baby on my front or back is my go-to strategy to snuggle them while I go about my daily tasks.
For my older kids, I make a conscious effort to take breaks from the household chores and my work when they’re home sick, and I often bring my work to them, setting up my laptop next to them on the couch. To keep them feeling cozy when I’m not sitting with them, they like it when I warm up a microwave heating bag (usually filled with some kind of rice or grain) to put around their shoulders or on their tummy under their favourite blankets.
Help Them Feel Better
Seasonal cold and flu are an inevitable reality of childhood (and frankly, adulthood, but without anyone to look after us …), and there’s certainly no miracle cure, but keeping our sick kids comfortable while they recover is easy thanks to Advil’s pediatric products to reduce fever and relieve pain and a few other tricks up our sleeves like the ones above to ease other symptoms.
This post is sponsored by Children’s Advil. Be sure this product is right for your kids, always read and follow the label.