How Do You Entertain Your Toddler When Mommy Is Sick and Can't Function?

Updated on May 04, 2010
J.S. asks from Orangevale, CA
11 answers

Hi moms! I'm getting over a nasty visus that both my 13 month old daughter & I have had for the past week. It hit us both at the same time so we were down for the count together. My question is what do you do to keep your toddler entertained when you are sick and he/she is well? I could not imagine trying to entertain my daughter in the state I was in! Thanks for your suggestions!

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So What Happened?

Thanks moms! All of the suggestions are great and I am seeing a recurring theme of movies, t.v., books and DAD! :) I showed this to my husband who snickered and said "but I wouldn't want to get sick too!" Ahhh the logic of men! Thanks again ladies!

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answers from Norfolk on

Build a nest of pillows and blankets on the floor in front of the TV. You bring snacks, drinks and have a little picnic. Have the humidifier set up near by. And you snooze and nap in front of TV all day watching videos. That's about all anyone can do when everyone is sick at the same time.

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answers from Jacksonville on

That's when Daddy calls in sick to work. Honestly.
We have no family nearby. And when I was very very ill with gastroeneritis, my husband had to stay home. When I was just very sick with pregnancy, lol, he stayed home some then, too.. but I (and my son) went to stay my parents a few times, we sent our son to hubby's parents (they met my husband half the distance), we had my mom come stay with us... etc etc.

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answers from Honolulu on

How old is your older child?
You need your Hubby home too, to help.
And the other child still needs supervision at the least and to have meals made and be fed etc.
You need an extra pair of hands and another body there to fill in.
Your Hubby.

all the best,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Sadly, I have used TV to keep the 3yo occupied. I was with him, sleeping on the couch. Not ideal, but you have to get through it somehow.

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answers from San Francisco on

I've been surprised several times at how my daughter (even at very young age) seemed to instinctively know that I wasn't well when I wasn't sick. She would just stay and play near me (bed or couch). So I just kept a lot of toys and books nearby.

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answers from New York on

I agree with Michele, I hate to do it, but sometimes you have to. The tv and the vcr saved me. Another thing I would do is ask my child to bring me a stack of books and I would ask her to read to me.

You can usually find someone (a friend, family member, neighbor) to help out even for an hour or two.

Do you have a babysitter that you use? When she's out of school have her come over and babysit in the backyard while you get some rest.

If all else fails, tell hubby he needs to take a day off.

Glad to hear your feeling better.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Every child is so different.. honestly what works for some may not work for others. I have three kids - both of my boys are really good at focusing and playing on their own. My oldest had a Thomas the train set and he would play with that for HOURS when he was 18 months. Before then he had other toys, both boys have never had that "15 minute" child attention span. My daughter, on the other hand likes to be entertained more - which makes her much more challenging in that kind of situation.

When I had a kidney infection and didn't know.. I was delirious with a 105 degree fever and barely functional. I don't usually let my kids watch TV, we go weeks without any, so in that case - I would allow one movie, or a few shows to cover an hour and a half. I stayed nearby and would lay on the couch letting my kid(s) play. Sometimes thats all you can do, it's not the ideal situation.. and my kids did want to play some, I just explained Mommy was very, very sick. I also took a shower and brought my 14 month old in the shower with me. Easy entertainment and it made me feel better. I sat on the floor of the shower and just let the water pelt me.

After I ended up in the emergency room on IVs for 6 hours - the following day my husband stayed home so I could rest. I definitely agree sometimes Dad needs to step up and give you time to recover.

Hopefully you won't be sick often :)

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answers from Redding on

Dear J.,
The husband idea is great...if you have one.
I divorced mine when my son was a baby.
I had a TV in my room and put books, puzzles, blankies, stuffed animals, etc on my bed and he just stayed on my bed with me.
Both my kids did that. It's as though they instincively knew to stay close to mommy when she was sick. It worked for me. I was able to doze but I knew if they got off the bed or anything. Since we were in my room, they didn't go very far...maybe to lay on the floor or get a different toy.
By the time my son was 13 months old, I'd already been back in the hospital for surgery so there was no jumping around or anything....he had to be gentle with mommy. He was always just really good about being quiet and still. His older sister was a big help when she got home from school. She's 10 years older, but I did the same thing with her when she was little...just kept her on the bed by me. She had dolls with different clothes and she would spend hours dressing up her babies or brushing their hair.

Put the television on PBS. They have all kinds of shows for kids during the day and in the afternoon. Tell your daughter that mommy's still sick so she needs to rest. Little kids that age can be so cute wanting to cover you up and things.
You've received some really great suggestions.
I hope you feel better soon.

Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

LOL, this is terrible, but I ask my husband to take a couple of sick days so that I can recover.

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answers from Detroit on

TV TV and more TV.. I am generally healthy so it rarely happens but if I am too sick to function I put on the disney channel and lay on the couch.. with the kids usually sitting on my feet..

mine are 3 an 4 now so it is much easier.. but back when they were a newborn and a 18 month old times were tough..

usually we all get sick together and if things are really bad dad has to stay home.. we have no local grandmas to help out and friends usually wont come over if you have thstomach flu.. not that I blame them.

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answers from San Francisco on

Oh did you bring up many memories of times with my 5 children. I have a stack of talking books, movies, and toys- that range from blocks,color books and a ream of plain paper to dolls and gi joes.... that are only used when someone is ill. This is kept in a place that the kids all know about and get excited about when they are allowed to use it. I found with many of these it was great for playing alone and kept them busy for limited time but for anything that works y theory is don't fix it. Good Luck By the way I can tell you the Veggie Tales, and Nemo seem to work very well -- there is something about Bob the Tomato and Larry Cucumber that can entertain a 1 year old for sometime.