How to cope with your child when you're ill

Coping with a child when you’re ill!

I’m sure that we’ve all had to do it, and we’ve all got through the day. But coping with a child or baby when you’re ill is awful. Being ill is awful in itself. But having to look after a baby, as well as yourself is really hard. I’ve just come out the other side of having the flu. I was struck down after Christmas and missed most of the first week back at work. Now that I’m feeling better I thought it would be a good idea to write down my top tips on how to survive the day.


It might sound silly or “you wish” but if you can try to get your child or baby down for an extra nap in the day, it is a life saver. When all you want to do is sleep yourself, getting an extra nap in for the child is a winner.

CBeebies or iPad

I know that as parent’s we try to limit screen time. But there comes a time when you just need to stick your child in front of the TV or ipad so you can close your eyes on the sofa for 5 minutes.

Getting help

If you’re fortunate to live near family see if they can pop over to take your child off you for a couple of hours, or if they can’t do this can they bring over dinner. We have no family nearby, but my husband was a god send, cooking dinner and taking care of bed-time.

Going for a walk

This might be something that you cannot bring yourself to do. However just getting out of the house and into the fresh air for an hour can really help to lift your spirits, make the day pass quicker, and entertains your child for a while.

Set up a temporary bed or nest in their room

Set up an area in your child’s room where you can lay on the floor when they play around you. I found that this worked until my daughter wanted to climb on my head and eat my ears.

Lower cleaning expectations

The last thing we want to do when we are feeling ill is to clean the house. Instead rest and put the washing to one side for a few days. It will still be there when you are feeling better, just the washing pile might be somewhat larger than normal. Try not to let this stress you.

Have a nice relaxing bath

I found having a long bath in the evening really helped to clear my head from “flu-fog”. It was also a welcoming 30 minutes away from the house mess and laundry pile.

Put the blog to one side

This is my first post I’ve written in a week, I found that I couldn’t look at my laptop screen last week. Instead set-up auto tweets either with Social Oomph or Word Press Revive Old Post, this will keep your Twitter feed busy and hopefully help to drive traffic to your blog when you’re not creating content.

Eat plenty of fresh fruit, veg and take vitamins

This is a given and will help to improve your recovery time. I found it really hard to eat last week, however I was forcing myself to drink a fruit smoothie and I was popping those vitamin pills.

Lastly look after yourself

By far the most important thing to remember is to look after yourself. If you’re ill just rest, get as much sleep as you can, the rest can wait.

I am feeling so much better now and have survived the flu with a 17-month old. Having been ill it has made me appreciate and enjoy the days that I am feeling as fit as a fiddle.

How have you coped with your children when you’ve been ill?

Claire x



  • Emma

    Oh bless you 🙁 Glad you’re feeling better now! Great tips! I was sick just before Christmas and was so lucky that for the day a family member was able to help. It won’t always be the case though and I have had that panic of what on earth would I do! I’ll definitely be keeping these in mind! x

  • Dave - dad's turn

    It is really tough, especially with a demanding baby. And you’re trying to avoid them getting it too because then it’s even worse!

    Weirdly the NHS gives the flu jab to ‘carers’ who look after elderly relatives to reduce the risk of the elderly getting flu and to avoid the difficulties of looking after someone when you have the flu. BUT parents are apparently not ‘carers’, so no flu vaccine for us. Even though babies are more vulnerable to flu and it’s more difficult to look after them when sick. Apparently parents just have to ‘cope’! Clearly not an experienced parent making up these rules. #fortheloveofBLOG

  • justsayingmum

    Oh you poor poor love – it is so so hard to be a parent when you’re ill. Sounds like you coped brilliantly. I think the biggest thing to do is not to have too high a expectations and just get through the week. The week will soon pass and normal life will resume – although it feels like you’ll be ill forever it does end – the worse thing is to be trying to still be doing the washing, cooking etc – just stop if you can! Oh and ask for ALL the help that you can get – all of it! Glad you’re feeling better now – you’re so good to keep your social media going when poorly – I am such a shoddy blogger – I must look into this scheduling malarkey! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Mrs Lighty

    I agree with all of this, especially the napping when the baby naps, putting the blog to one side and CBeeBees!! Hope you’re feeling better now. Thanks for hosting #fortheloveofBLOG 🙂

  • Sarah - Mum & Mor

    Sorry to hear you’ve been ill. I have been sick on and off since Christmas. It was tough because A’s daycare was closed for the holidays. Luckily my husband helped a lot and I tried to take naps when A did. Thank you for sharing these tips! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Kiri

    Luckily I have family nearby. I wasn’t feeling well yesterday so asked my parents to take my eldest to school and they ended up having my youngest for the day too – meant I could just relax and get some sleep! Usually though being ill equals a lot of screen time for the kids just trying to keep them occupied! #fortheloveofblog

  • Kelly

    Poor you. Glad you are feeling better. When Jacob was 8 weeks old I had a tummy bug, which was hell! I coped by getting grandparents to help me. I don’t know how I would have coped alone. I guess as he gets older it will be slightly easier! I hope! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Anna

    Well done for getting through illness with a small one around! I find it impossible as mine sense my weakness and I’m subjected to my eyelids being prised open if I dare to try and nap! #fortheloveofblog

  • Zoe

    Being I’ll with children is horrible! I spend my time wondering if before kids I was ever actually ill. It is SO HARD. It’s not so bad when they’re teeny and don’t move and can snuggle in bed with you, but an ever curious toddler and crawling baby = no rest. Although I had norovirus a few months ago and bless the toddler sat next to me in bed watching a film on the tablet (absolutely no screen time guilt here-even when I’m not ill!) and baby was happy to spend as much time as she could feeding (because ya know, having to unlatch a baby so you can run away and be sick is easy! ) fresh air definitely helps sometimes though. It clears your head! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Nursery Whines

    Glad you are feeling better. It’s the worst when they want to jump up and down on you and you feel awful. These are some great tips. Wouldn’t have thought of the going for a walk one, but it’s actually a really good idea. #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Nadine

    Great tips. I like the setting up a nest idea. Also, I’m all for giving them an iPad or putting the TV on. I will unashamedly admit that I use one with my little one when I have jobs I need to get done. They’re a godsend! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Emma

    Oh it is awful when you are poorly and still need to look after the children. When I first came down with the flu cbeebies became my best friend. However, I still kept trying to do stuff and then I became proper poorly. I should have listened to my body and had a proper rest like your list suggests. I’ve learnt my lesson though and won’t be repeating it in a hurry! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Peachy and her Mommy

    I can sympathize. I had the flu just before the holidays, right after Peachy’s first birhtday party. I imagind that’s where I caught it. The day after I fell ill, Peachy got sick too. It was her first time. We were both very grumpy. The following day, my husband got sick too. So all three of us were down at once. It was really tough to deal with a fussy baby, grumpy husband, and be sick myself at the same time. #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Becki Parsons

    I always think there should be some sort of government fund for helping SAHMs when we’re ill! Everyone else gets sick days, right?! But seriously, I sucks doesn’t it? I don’t know how I would have got through a throat and ear infection (and yukky antibiotics) with a 2 year old without CBeebies. iPlayer and my Chromecast came in handy too – not having to get up to change a DVD when he wants 19 of the same programme back to back… godsend! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • kristin mccarthy

    I have woke up with the flu and vertigo before and I kid you not caring for four kids – none of who nap or sit- was damn near impossible. This type of thing is one of my biggest fears.


    Hope you are feeling much better. It’s horrible feeeling yucky when you have a litle one to care for. I remember 4 weeks after having my baby I had to go to the dentist as I had horrendous toothache as well as recovering from a c-section. It was hell. Fantastic tips xx


  • OddHogg

    Glad to hear ear eating is common thing! I haven’t really been ill yet since Piglet was born, but when it does happens I’ll be calling in reinforcements in the form of my mother! #fortheloveofblog

  • Lucy grace

    Bless you, the flu is bad enough without being a mummy on top! Parenthood is all about being selfless, which is nigh on impossible when you’re sick as sickness forces you to look after yourself in order to get better. I always say, I can handle Teddy being ill but the moment I catch it myself I start to fall Great tips here, I agree with all of them. Especially Cbeebies. It saved me on my first trimester when I was really poorly, and it also saved me a week before christmas when norovirus got us all! Xxx #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Briony

    You poor thing, I hope you’re feeling better now. The last time I was really ill, I had tonsillitis and haven’t gent that ill in ages, I literally called my dad in tears and begged him to come and look after L. Which thankfully he did, he also came with rice pudding and tomato soup and dragged me to the doctors. I don’t know what I’d have done without his help! Good old dad! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Emma and Family

    Great tips! There is nothing worse than being ill when a small child. I’m lucky that my mum only lives 30mins away, I have had to ask for her help on several occasions when struck down ill. But I also normally allow my son his dummy downstairs when I’m ill because I know he is likely to cuddle up and nap on the sofa with me if needed. #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Ali Duke

    Setting up a “nest” in the kids room is a great idea. My daughter is 11 and if I am ill she will come and lie in bed or cuddle up on the sofa with me to keep me company. The good thing now is both mine are old enough to make me cups of tea etc when I’m ill now, they have lots of years of me running around after them to catch up with 😉

  • Mrs Mummy Harris

    I caught Ben’s bug after christmas and it was 24 hours of pure hell. I had no sleep, constant puking and begged Hubby at like 3am to stay off work to help me with Ben as I had no strength to hold him and he was still being sick aswell. I woke up to an empty bed and the car wasnt there either.
    It was the first time he dissapointed me as I really needed him – it wasnt a cold which i’ve dealt with with Ben before but I couldnt stay out of the bathroom and when I was all i wanted to do was sleep, but couldnt.
    It made it worse that I phoned the inlaws and when they were going to come over to get Ben for me, my FIL got called out to work last minute and MIL doesnt drive (neither do I)
    Glad you’re feeling better now xx #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Rouge

    I’m still waiting for my baby to arrive but in the meantime this seems to apply equally to “Coping with a HUSBAND when you’re ill!” he he

    Hope you feel better!


  • Alice Soule

    It’s horrendous when you’re ill and have children to look after! I had a stomach bug last Easter (so long ago but it was traumatic so I remember it well) and it was literally a nightmare. My partner had to take a day off work because with three children, including a (then) baby and Jude to contend with, there is no way I would have survived alone. My mum brought the children’s dinner over too which was a great help. #fortheloveofblog

  • Angela Watling

    These are great tips and I agree completely. I hate being ill with a toddler because they don’t understand and still continue to live at 1000 mph, demanding snacks and entertainment. The worst I ever had was when I caught norovirus off my daughter when she 16 months. My husband didn’t realise how bad I felt until the following day when he came down with it too. At which point he was bedridden and I had to do the mum thing all day. The moment she went to sleep I literally collapsed on the sofa. I have never appreciated the privilege of paid sick leave that that time; my daughter was allowed back to nursery and we both laid on the sofa for 2 days!!! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • five little doves

    Sorry you’ve been poorly, it’s just awful isn’t it? I could write a book on this! With my four, and being ill for the last two and a half years, we have really had to adapt our lives and find ways to make sure that the children don’t suffer but neither do I make my health worse. It’s hard though, Cbeebies has had to feature quite heavily some days! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Squirmy Popple

    Oh, it’s so hard to parent when you’re ill! The last time I was sick (thankfully only for a day), my husband took my daughter to nursery and did all the household chores so I could curl up into a ball on the couch. I don’t know how I would have coped otherwise. #fortheloveogBLOG

  • Jo (Mother of Teenagers)

    This is so tough. I can remember being at home with youngest with shingles and my husband leaving me to it. I thought I was going to die literally. The most horrific experience ever because you need to sleep and let your body recover when you are ill whatever it is and you can’t do that with one eye on a child. Hope you are feeling better. #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Tooting Mama

    How awful and over the Christmas break, poor you! This was me last year. My kids are older, but it was dose up on paracetamol, take the kids to school, come back and go back to bed til pick up time. Pizzas for supper, and lots, and lots of TV, while I was immobile in bed. The kids loved it – lots of TV! I agree look after yourself and all the boring chore stuff can wait! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Helena

    Oh my goodness parenting and sickness sure don’t seem to go hand in hand. I usually end up with my eldest joining me if I go to bed sick! Like you I have a wonderful husband who steps in. #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Nicola

    Glad you are feeling better! Being ill when you have children to look after is just the worst. Last time I was struck down with a bug I was up sick all night and luckily the next day was Sunday so my other half was home. However, after I had rested for about 30 minutes, he announced that he was ‘feeling a bit rough’ and went to bed! That was the end of me being ill! It’s amazing what you are able to do when you just have to…but making food is the hardest thing :-(. #fortheloveofblog

  • Sassy

    Great tips! This is one of my biggest concerns about becoming a parent, as I have zero immune system I can get ill quickly, it really does floor me, I hope I can put my mum hat on and just carry on… But I physically don’t know how I will cope… High-five to your husband for being so great! Xxx #ForTheLoveOfBlog

  • Samsam

    I’m glad you’re feeling much better. I mostly let my husband take care of our 15 months old if i’m not feeling well. I think in order to take care of the baby and your family you also need to take good care of yourself.
    I usually don’t blog if me, hubby or baby aren’t feeling well #fortheloveogBLOG

  • Maria

    Sorry to hear you’ve been so poorly! Looking after a little one is so tough when you are ill! We’ve had a poorly household for a couple of weeks now – we seem to just be passing germs around between us! #ForThe LoveOfBlog

  • Amie

    It really is so tough being poorly when little ones rely on you! I’ve had the bout of cold, sore throat and achy ears that’s been doing the rounds around us and I felt awful! All I wanted to do was sleep which is almost an impossibility when you have a 6 month old that decides they need to wake up and fuss every few hours in the night! I just kept thinking wow my mum was amazing! And how the hell did she do it?! Haha #FortheloveofBLOG

  • Susie at This Is Me Now

    Oh I feel for you – it’s so awful being ill with a child. I’ve had a sickness bug and a sinus infection in the last few months and my days, it was awful! Luckily my husband’s parents are about 50 mins away and on hand to help out if needed. I totally agree about needing the TV and ignoring the house. You just have to do as little as possible to recover asap. So glad you’re better now xx #FortheloveofBLOG

  • Wendy

    Glad you are feeling better. Being ill when you have a child is awful!! I definitely don’t care about screen time when I’m ill, sometimes it’s the only way to cope. We’ve all got really bad colds at the minute and Leo had TV on all morning and I didn’t even care. Xx #fortheloveofblog

  • Mummy and the Mexicans

    It’s horrible enough being ill, but tough when you have to look after a baby or small child when all you want to do is lie down and sleep. I haven’t been ill much since becoming a mum, hardly at all, luckily, but I have had a couple of days when I just felt incapable of getting out of bed. It’s so important not to neglect our own health! Glad you’re feeling better now! #fortheloveofblog

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