We’re chartering new territory in toddlerdom – the sick toddler. It was easy(er) when he didn’t move much and just wanted tons of cuddles and love. Now? The kid gets bored so fast, even when sick, that it’s hard to keep his body rested and his mind engaged. And so after three days of coaxing squirrelly babe into sick toddler respite, I thought I’d share with your my 10 ways on how to entertain a sick toddler. I know there’s tons of advice out there, so hopefully some of this is a little different than what you’ve already read.
1: Bring a few toys into your bed and let them play
Because it’s big and a treat to be in our bed (even though he gets brought into our bed every morning at 5:30am in a vain attempt at getting him to sleep longer), squirrelly babe loves to hang out and pretend sleep. Throw in a few quiet toys and you may have bought yourself some solid quiet play time.
2: Bake together
Squirrelly babe LOVES to help in the kitchen, and I’m told that’s pretty common amongst toddlers. While you might not want sicky hands in your flour, set up a chair and mini sets of bowls or cups and let your toddler ‘bake’ their own creation alongside you.
3: Engage in sensory play (and make your own!)
I have to be honest, my play dough recipe totally tanked, so this wasn’t as entertaining for squirrelly babe. But I’m not giving up! Next time I’ll try this play dough, this moon sand, and/or this slime. If your child also still like to occassionally stick things in his/her mouth, choose taste safe recipes.
4: Play with magnets on a baking sheet
It’s portable, it’s tactile, and can be a great learning tool. While he’s a little young to be learning his letters, I had squirrelly babe pointing out and sorting colours with our magnetic letters (affiliate link).
5: Do the dishes and other water play
Squirrelly babe insists on helping with the dishes. We have a double sink so we park him in front of one with about 2 inches of water and let him rinse and put away the dishes (amidst playing that is). We’ll also fill the bathroom sink some times and give him his bath toys. The ultimate water play is, of course, the bath tub, which also feels really great when you’re sick. An alternative is running a hot shower and letting your toddler sit on the floor and play while he/she breaths in the humidity.
6: Face time with a loved one
Kids love to ‘chat’ on face time, and this is a great way to keep them entertained and sitting still. Bonus: the person on the other end gets to have a visit safely far away from any germs!
7: Go for a walk
If it’s just a cold and nothing worse, bundle your little one up and go for a walk in the stroller or carrier. The fresh air can provide some comfort, and getting out of the house will keep your sanity.
8: Get those fluids down (and make it fun!)
Toddlers want to be like adults, and sometimes squirrelly babe will throw his sippy cup aside and insist on using a big glass like us. Because it’s important to get fluids down when sick, we used this to our advantage and gave him a big glass to drink from. Bonus: we made the water purple by adding a splash of grape juice. We also had pretend tea time with his play set, and then included him in our real tea time by making him warm honey lemon water (great for soothing sore throats) and putting it in an espresso cup. He LOVED THIS.
9: Draw with DIY Beeswax Crayons and other arts and crafts
Okay you don’t have to make these crayons (shameless plug), but drawing or painting naturally makes a child sit down and relax for a bit.
10: When all else fails, put on a movie
I mean, you need a break too, right? Squirrelly babe’s current fave is Totoro. (He takes after his mama)
Do you have any tips of your own? I’d LOVE to hear them to add to my bag of tricks!