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Sick Days Gone Forever?

A Dad's Strategy for Sick Days
When you’re a father of young children you will inevitably discover the foolhardy endeavor of taking a sick day. This holds true for whether you work at an office or are a stay at home Dad. Sure you can plan to take time off to recuperate. But when you have young children residing in your humble abode, their expectations of receiving undivided attention remains unfettered by a parent’s state of health. One can certainly attempt to hide from the kids, but they will find you. I have a theory that the Daddy demand increases in proportion to just how under the weather the Daddy is feeling. It’s almost as if an internal switch is flipped on within these beloved little beings that compel them to “break him now!” And without hesitation, utilizing precision like efficiency, they do. Unless, of course, you are prepared for this contingency.

In the spirit of the holiday season, I’d like to impart a much needed glimmer of hope. I’ve developed a simple yet effective strategy to manage your kids demands as you battle with your ailment.

A Dad’s Sick Day Strategy

Feed Them
Children are extremely receptive to snacks. In fact, almost any time of the day is a good time for snack time. Give them child friendly healthy snacks that will take them time and effort to eat. Pasta, a Sandwich, a bowl of cereal, etc.

Keep Them Occupied with Activities
Kids love to be active whether they admit to it or not. Have them engaged in activities which require their attention to detail. Create a project making use of crafts. Break out the play-doh. Drawing is also useful as is coloring. Be specific in what you request. That’s the key to extending these activities from brief distractions to Daddy napping nirvana.

If they are able to read or identify pictures, then by all means, have them gather up a stack of books and get whisked away by their imagination. Turn it into a contest of who can read the most books. The reward can be a healthy snack. It all ties in.

I know, it’s a crutch. And sometimes a poor one at that. Yet there are fantastic educational programs that will engage your children. Think about having a few videos on hand that will captivate their attention. Also, make use of on demand tv or your dvr for the same purpose.

Send them to the Grandparents
No one will respond quicker to the needs of your offspring then their grandparents. Just don’t abuse this fact as they most likely are already providing a tremendous amount of support to you and your wife in taking care of your kids.

The In-laws
You’re married not just to your wife, but to her family. They may or may not love you but your children are a lock for unconditional love. Pick up the phone.

Ultimately the best defense against getting sick is a healthy offense. That translates into eating well, getting proper sleep, exercising, managing your stress, and keeping an overall positive attitude. But if you do end up catching a sick bug or two or three, at least you’ll have a plan of action.

Below are a couple of helpful links for activity ideas for the kids:

PBS Kids

Nick Jr.

How have you handled being sick while taking care of your children?

  • Oh yes I remember trying to entertain little one when sick and having a business. WHEW!

    • Anonymous

      Yes m’am. Challenging times. But memorable too. 🙂

  • Shoebuf

    Great suggestions to keep the youngsters busy so parents can sit down for a few minutes but as you mentioned…they will find you!!

    • Anonymous

      Sometimes a few minutes of bliss is all you need. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the suggestions.

  • Pop

    Recently, I had food poisoning and my oldest daughter (2.5) was still being potty trained. Needless to say, those were crappy days. Great suggestions! One thing I’d add, if they’re old enough, is to let them know you are sick. My daughter was incredibly empathetic and asked, “Are you feeling better, daddy?” throughout the day. I think it helped me get better quicker.

    Stopping by from The Daddy Yo Dude.

    • Anonymous

      Glad you made it through your personal bout with food poisoning. And you’re correct about informing the kids, especially the older ones of your health status. But until they reach a certain age of comprehension and responsibility, the onus of care provider, even when sick, still falls upon the parent.

  • We ran into the same thing last week.  Both mom and dad were feeling awful but the Kid was running around and always demanding attention.  It is to bad that grandparents and in-laws are so far away. 

    • Anonymous

      It’s true being in close proximity to the grandparents and in-laws can be a world of difference in a crunch when looking for a break from the kids.  What’s your plan B?