(BPT) – If you’re a parent, a big part of your job is making sure your children feel well. No matter how many times you wash their hands, sterilize their toys or keep a sparkling clean house, inevitably the germs will win. All parents know that taking care of a sick child can be a stressful experience that can leave you feeling helpless — especially when they have a cough that is keeping them up at night.
On top of that, if you’re trying to juggle a job, keep the house in order and get enough sleep yourself, the experience can feel overwhelming.
Emily Schuman, founder of the popular lifestyle parenting blog Cupcakes and Cashmere, has had more than her fair share of days spent taking care of her toddler when she is sick. The following are some of her best cough and cold remedies to help care for your little one when they’re sick.
1. Sleep is great medicine
Parents know that a sleepy child is a crabby child. Just as sleep is vital for a child’s mood, it is also a crucial step in combating coughs and colds. Naps and early bedtimes should be a priority. To help your sick child sleep better and longer, you might have to give them more cuddles than usual!
2. Reduce their coughing
One of the worst parts of taking care of a sick child is hearing them cough, which is also uncomfortable for the child. In fact, a recent Vicks VapoRub survey* found that nearly all (94 percent) moms say coughing from being sick makes sleeping difficult for their child, and 92 percent say finding symptom relief to improve their child’s sleep is top priority. Fortunately, Vicks VapoRub, a cough remedy moms have used for over 100 years, is safe, effective, has long-lasting vapors and is fast-acting for children ages 2 years and up. When applied on the chest or throat, the medicated vapors in Vicks VapoRub last up to eight hours, to help quiet the cough, which in turn helps moms and their children sleep better and get the rest they need.
3. Bring out the humidifier
With winter comes dry air, and when you add in central heating, the air is even dryer. This is particularly uncomfortable when you have a cold or cough. Placing a humidifier near your child’s bed can do wonders as far as allowing them to breathe more comfortably and sleep better.
4. Feed them nutrient-rich foods
When you’re sick, it’s easy to gravitate toward comfort food like mac and cheese or sweets. But it is important to make sure your child gets plenty of nutrients from food like fresh fruits and veggies. Soups and smoothies are perfect ways to get your little ones to eat these foods.
5. Provide them with activities and distractions
Being sick is not fun, and not just because your child feels lousy. They’re also cooped up, bored and incredibly restless. Make sure you have plenty of rainy-day activities, like coloring books and special toys, ready for them. If they feel up to it, encourage them to make a fort out of the couch cushions. It’s also the perfect time to let them have extra screen time.
It’s hard to have a sick child at home, but getting ample sleep, having Vicks VapoRub on hand, using a humidifier, eating well and being prepped with some creative distractions can go a long way toward comforting your child and making things easier for the entire household. And remember as stressful as it can be caring for a sick child, nearly nine in ten (87 percent) moms say it can be a bonding experience.*
* This content is based on an online survey conducted by Kelton in October 2017 among a sample of 1,016 American mothers with children between the ages of 2 and 17.