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19 Simple Ways to Help Your Sick Child Feel Better


Mother feeling child’s head for a fever

It’s a fact: Because their immune systems are still developing, your kids will likely get sick more often than you. Here are some of the best tips from parent bloggers and experts alike to help your kids recover (again and again).

What to Give a Child with a Sore Throat or Cold Symptoms

  1. Honey and cinnamon: For kids older than 12 months, one recommended cold remedy is to give them 1 teaspoon honey and ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon. Offer by the spoonful, or spread it on toast.
  2. Vapo-dough!: Add a few drops of eucalyptus, an essential oil that eases congestion, to modeling dough – just make sure kids don’t nibble!
  3. Hands-on therapy: Doctors recommend tapping your child’s back with a cupped hand to loosen chest congestion. (Have him or her lie across your lap or sit on your lap leaning forward about 30 degrees.)
  4. Saline for stuffy nose: A bulb syringe spritz of preservative-free saline solution is good for kids older than six months.
  5. Steamy relief: Look for bath products designed to help congested kids breathe easier.
  6. Raise their head: If your child doesn’t already sleep with a pillow, slide a few under his mattress to keep his or her head slightly elevated, which helps relieve congestion.

Toddler Vomiting and Tummy Ache Treatment

  1. Homemade heating pad: A wool sock full of uncooked rice, knotted at the top, can be warmed in the microwave for 30 seconds and placed on tummy.
  2. Use tiny cups: Help kids reintroduce liquids slowly. Use little cups (try paper ones with cartoon characters to make it fun).
  3. DIY electrolyte solution: Mix 4 cups water, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, ½ teaspoon fruit-flavored gelatin mix (optional, for flavoring)
  4. Serve the BRAT diet: Don’t take that personally, it’s an acronym to help you remember Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast – they’re easily digested foods to serve as your little one recuperates.

What to Do When Your Toddler Has the Flu

  1. Homemade juice popsicles: These help your child cool off and increase his fluid intake at the same time.
  2. A lukewarm bath: Doctors recommend a bath with just a few inches of warm (not cold) water to bring down a high temperature. Take them out before they begin to shiver.
  3. Warm towels: If your child has the chills, pop their towels and blanket in the dryer before using for extra comfort.
  4. Cuter cold compresses: Upcycle old flannel pajamas, or buy flannel fabric with your kiddo’s favorite characters, to increase the odds that your child will leave cool compresses in place for more than a few moments!
  5. OTC medication: If your child has a fever or body aches, you can treat them with over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Use as directed.

Tips to Help a Sick Child with Any Illness

  1. Use “get well” sheets: Have a set of special sheets and bedding ready for your sick child. You can drape these over the couch, too. (This also signals that the rest of the family should keep a safe distance!)
  2. Grab a bucket: Your child can tote around his own small bucket lined with a plastic bag. This helps keep used tissues (or worse!) safely contained.
  3. Screen gems: If a little screen time helps your child rest and recuperate, let him indulge.
  4. Sleep easy: A little lavender in the bath before bed may help your little one sleep better and get well.

©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2019

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