Sick Days (or how to keep things going while nursing the sickies)

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This is a sick Bull. He spent two days this week lying on the couch completely out of energy and loudness.

It was so very quiet around here!

I must admit I enjoyed the quiet and calm, but I would have wished for another cause.

Anyway…

I started thinking about how I handle sick days, especially when Buggle succumbed as well and I was without two of my main helpers at once!

  • Let some things go- for me that’s mostly laundry since Bull handles the washing and drying and we can afford to get a bit behind with that job but not with the dishwasher and kitchen counters which are Buggle’s responsibility. After two days I have four or five loads to run, fold and put away but the boys are feeling better and if we all tackle it it won’t take long.
  • Keep the sick person resting as much as possible- I move them from couch, to recliner, to bed and give them plenty of comfy blankets and pillows to lean on. They can drowse or read (or sometimes watch a show or play a game on the Kindle if they’ve been sick for many days and are too bored to rest but too sick to get up and about)
  • Encourage the other children to offer kindnesses- being a bit quieter so the sick kid can rest, giving them a special animal to snuggle, bringing them books to read, or drinks and snacks as appropriate. Serving as they would like to be served.
  • Everyone picks up a bit of the sick person’s slack- this is a good chance to see if a child is ready to be promoted to a different set of responsibilities by giving them a practice run
  • Keep things running as close to normally as possible for the rest of the crew- I’m always tempted to let things all go slack when one kid is sick, but we all really do better if I relax the schedule slightly but try to keep things moving for the rest of the children. Anything that requires all the children gets put aside but otherwise we just continue with lessons and the sick child either listens and learns or spends time reading and resting.
  • Reading- Since much of our history work at this point consists of reading biographies, histories, and historical novels I encourage sick children to work on the week’s history reading assignment. For one thing they tend to stay more cheerful if they don’t have sick days filled with entertainment and self gratification and for another their willingness and ability to read history is a good gauge of how sick they are.
  • “If you are well enough to play, you are well enough to work.”- I learned this from my sister and it’s a great test. When the sick kid is feeling well enough to abandon the couch, I give an easy job as a test of their ability to be off the couch and get along with others, follow rules and so on. If they set up a loud wailing and whining or drag through the task, I know they aren’t really ready to get up and send them back for more rest.

Altogether I keep things as simple as possible and figure we’ll sort out the messes that accumulate around the edges once all my helpers are back up to their regular energy levels.

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