When You Are Sick, How to You Handle Care of Your Kids?

Updated on June 12, 2013
A.C. asks from Morehead, KY
24 answers

Just curious. When you are sick, how to you handle care of your kids? I am talking sick enough that you need to be in bed or at least resting on the couch. Do you:
- insist your significant other comes home from work to take care of the kids?
- call around for a babysitter for the day?
- Put the kids down for a nap and/or call it a "tv/lounge" day?
- Other?

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So What Happened?

Ooh, Lee Lee, that sounds awful! I can't imagine fevers for that long! Ugh!
Yeah, I pretty much do tv as a babysitter if I am sick. My kids know to be quiet and respectful if I need to rest.
I just seem to get a lot of requests to babysit because someone is sick, made me wonder if a lot of people get sitters when they are sick.

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answers from Dallas on

I have him lounge, watch movies, do puzzles, color, play with sticker books, etc. I can insist my husband come home all I want, but it wouldn't be that easy!!! He needs to be at work certain times, so it's kind of unreasonable to insist he come home. I can deal with a sick day.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am a single mom of 2 little ones so no one to call home to help when i am sick. I have my kids go play in the playroom while i am on the couch and if it gets to loud in there or if they are fighting to much we have movie time.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

When my kids were little, I would take medication to relieve the symptoms and drive on with mommy stuff. I washed my hands a lot. Try to relax as much as possible, nap when the kids napped, but pretty much everything else was the same.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

Suck it up, vomit, and get up and take care of the kids. Fortunately, I didn't get sick often.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I count myself as very lucky that this hasn't happened much. The one time I was truly bedridden and miserable, and had no short-term childcare options, I cued up about 5 Disney movies on Netflix and let my 4-year-old just glue himself to the screen. I'm usually very strict about screen time, so this was a huge treat for him. I don't recommend this as a regular thing, but if you're truly, truly sick, it's a sane and rational option.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My husband work in law enforcement so he couldn't really take time off becuase I was sick - unless I was deathly ill. I don't ever recall him having to do so.

Mostly I'd care for them myself. Lay on the couch, put on shows/ movies that they like to watch. Let them eat snack-ish foods instead of real meals (cheese & crackers, apples & peanut butter, chips, etc.) and let them climb on me. When they were younger than pre-school I'd rope in my mom or one of my sisters. Once they got to preschool level we could handle it with TV and snacks. I'd tell them ahead of time that mommy's sick and feels really yucky and you need to be quiet and calm and watch TV. TV and movies were a big deal when my kids were little so it was a huge treat! Also - if I had advance notice (feeling horribly ill the night before) my DH would get movies & non-bounce-off-the-wall snacks the night before.
Feel better! It's tough. Moms don't get sick days!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

This hasn't come up as an issue. I can't remember a time when I was actually bedridden, including five knee surgeries.

I can't even remember them acting up when I was sick. I made lunches, sat back down. If I really needed something they usually would fetch it for me if I was feeling lazy.

Never asked anyone to come help me, sure didn't ask anyone to stay home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

When I was married and stayed at home (which was for about 9 months) if I was sick enough that I would have called into work then my husband called in sick and came home.

When I was divorced and worked flexible "work from home" work (which was for about 2 years) I would either call my mom and have her pick up my daughter. But by them my daughter was 5-6.... so she could sorta wing it on her own.

I think it's REALLY important to model self-care for your kids. I DO NOT suck it up and continue to take care of everyone when I am vomiting. That just sends a HORRIBLE message to your kids about how important you are..... and about how THEY should take care of themselves.

I also know my body.... If I can sleep for 24 hours I will get over it and bounce back. If I don't.... well, then I'm sick for a couple days.

My sister-in-law used to get up in the middle of the night with her kids when SHE was sick... and let her husband sleep. I've NEVER understood that. I'm all for the "he's got an actual *job* and I stay home" mentality.... but if you are REALLY sick.... then the partner needs to suck it up and let you get better. The same way HE gets to take sick days.... so should you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Well, I usually just take care of everyone. We all had the stomach flu really bad a few years ago. At Christmas. It was a nightmare, but who can you call when the household is all really sick?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Muncie on

All of the above. :)

Thankfully I've not been that sick, knock on wood.

Mostly, I just shove on through the sick and take care of business.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I never ask for anyone to babysit because I never want to infect an innocent person! I just survive and do the minimum an the kids do watch lots of Netflix!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

If I was sick enough that I had to call in sick to work, I'd take my son to day care as usual then go home and go to bed until it was time to pick him up.


answers from Phoenix on

When i am sick,I take them To grandma's house and they stay there for a few days.Then i pick Them up when im better



answers from Kansas City on

I have a box of craft stuff, random craft ideas I collect over the year. If I'm that sick, it's tv day, and if she gets too bored with that, it's pull out the craft box time and let her do whatever's in there that doesn't require direct supervision. (Last time it was use fabric pens to decorate a plain tote bag). When she was littler (she's 6 now) I just did it, until her dad came home. Mostly the tv has been a good distraction, she loves it if she can pick movies and stay in her tent with popcorn.



answers from El Paso on

Well, so far, I've been really lucky and the only times I've been that sick, my husband has been home. So it's either been on a weekend (tolerable) or on vacation (grrr). IF I'm sick, it's usually something minor that I just power through. It's usually either the kids or my husband that are bad enough to be "couch-ridden." :)



answers from Tampa on

The best I can...

I work full time, but I have been caught alone with the kids and violently ill. I can remember literally laying on the floor of the bathroom after throwing up and having the kids bugging me for stuff. Luckily they are a bit older now. Calling DH for help usually didn't work because there always seems to be some reason why he just cannot possibly leave work.

TV/Movies are your friend. Simple snacks and drinks for their meals... Sometimes you just have to do the best that you can.



answers from Portland on

I have a close neighbor family and we trade care-- our kids are at home in each other's houses, and so we are the default 'ask if there's a need' folks for each other.

TV is used when necessary. I'm actually recovering from a rather violent stomach flu yesterday. The aforesaid neighbor took Kiddo for the worst of it yesterday and today is being spent on the couch. (Very achy with cramps, no less.) My husband may pick him up from school and this afternoon will be lots of Lego time and some TV time for Kiddo. I'm good for keeping him alive today, that's about it.



answers from Chicago on

Sit on the couch and let the kids watch tv and play in by you.


answers from San Diego on

TV is my babysitter if I'm bedridden w/ the flu, etc. I have an 8 yo so although she's pretty self-sufficient, I always try to keep one ear on what's going on, even if I'm in a stupor. And my husband tries to come home early to do dinner/bath/homework duty, etc. I also have my MIL very close to us and she's always super helpful if I'm that sick. I got the "real" flu a few years ago and I was literally bed-ridden for 10 days with fevers for 9 of those days. It was horrible.



answers from Boca Raton on

well, tv doesn't work for us as my kids are too energetic to sit still. when i get the flu (about the only thing that can knock me down) i take dayquil during the day and i suck it up tending to them, their homework etc. usually my husband is unable to come home early from work. when he does finally return, i take nyquil and go into my cave to sleep.


answers from Grand Forks on

They are 7 and 10, so they can look after me now. I remember a few times when my kids were young that I was sick in bed for a day or two. I was quite impressed at how they seemed to recognize that I was unable to do much for them, and were on their best behaviour. I let them watch tv all day, and I put out lots of snacks and drinks for them and all was well.



answers from Washington DC on

If I am truly sick and cannot get out of bed and manage the minimum of "here, watch some TV and eat cereal" then DH stays home.



answers from Detroit on

depends on how sick I am.. If I was really really sick.. and the kids were really really young.. I would call hubs to come home.. (once I had stomach flu and I had my nannycome so I could lay in bed all day.-- hubs was out of town.)

I have also had days when I was feeling sort of sick.. so I turned on the tv.. layed on the couch and tried to keep one eye and ear on the kids.

Now that my kids are 6 and 7.. they can do a lot for themselves.. so I would be ok.. they could probably even make me toast.. so I can be sick and they can take care of themselves...


answers from San Francisco on

I just suffered through it.
I can still remember being VERY ill with food poisoning, and I had a nursing newborn and a two year old at the time.
I don't know HOW I did it, I just know that husband missing work was not an option and I didn't have anyone else to call, as everyone I knew was working. I spent my time on the couch, diapers and wipes on the coffee table, baby in her basket on the floor, and my poor son was forced to play quietly, watch TV and eat from boxes of crackers and dry cereal all day, with the occasional sippy cup of milk.
Lucky for me I have rarely gotten seriously ill.
Though there was another time, when the kids were in elementary school, that the flu got me down so bad I literally couldn't get out of bed for three or four days. My MIL came down to help out and she was a God send!!!

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