Ahh the lovely stomach virus. It’s never fun at any age but dealing the unpredictable virus with non speaking toddlers is THE WORST! Since both my girls came down with another bout of this over the Christmas week, I thought I’d share some tips we learned along the way. Here are our tips to care for sick toddlers:
I want to state that this is, of course, just our experience to care for the child at home in the first signs of a 24 hour bug. Please seek medical attention if you are concerned on this being more than that, it lasts too long or the child seems dehydrated!
- Tarp system – Growing up Derek’s mom (a nurse!) put the “tarp system” into action and at 35 years old, he still uses the system. What is it? Old comforters that are brought out and cover our couches and our living floor, the main hangout, during sick stomach virus time. Since you never know when they’ll be throwing up, this is hopefully something to help protect your surfaces just a bit.
- Sick Buckets – Around Halloween, Easter and Christmas Walmart and other stores carry cheap plastic buckets. Grab some and stash them in your child’s closet! By 2.5 Brielle was at the age that she could finally tell us when she needed to “spit into a bucket” but even at younger ages they were useful to try and catch something coming out instead of it being all over the child, their bed or the floor. They are also helpful when carrying the child from their room to the bathroom which is my next point.
- Tub Time – Right after getting sick, we strip them down and stick them in the tub. Let them play, let them relax. If they get sick, it’s an easy step to the toilet. Tip: Take out all the non plastic toys or squeeze toys that can capture water. We only keep cup type toys for play during this time and throw them in the dishwasher after the bout of sickness is over.
- Zip up or button up pajamas – When a toddler is sick, try to put them in button up or zip up pjs so you don’t need to remove the dirty clothing up over their head, thus getting stuff in their hair. Yep, learned that one the hard way!
- Start the laundry asap – Luckily, the few times the stomach bug has hit our house Derek was home and could make this 2 man team work. I DO NOT DO PUKE well so he usually handles the clean up while I try to care for the child during the bath time. Take the dirty items, rinse them off in the sink and start the load asap. If it’s a continuous event one LONG night, you’ll want to have things in process of getting cleaned for their next call to action.
- Put their hair up! – Seems obvious but both my girls have always had long hair but don’t sleep in hairties, due to knots. After that first nighttime sickness hits, get some pony tails in stat!
- Waterproof mattress pads under sheets – We have waterproof mattress pads on the kids beds under their bed sheet for all those yucky bodily functions that might happen at bedtime. And we have 3 extras as backup. Let me tell you some nights all were used, even with the laundry cycles in full effect! These are also great to use as the “tarp system” seen above.
- B.R.A.T diet – Bananas, rice, applesauce, toast the diet meant for upset stomachs! We tend to limit dairy and even giving them too much water to fill their stomachs. Instead we try to give them the next item – Pedialyte!
- Pedialyte – As shared in my post about stocking your child’s medicine cabinet, we always make sure to have a backup bottle of Pedialyte (or the Up&Up brand version) in our cabinet at all times. For our family, these stomach issues always start at night making it for a long first night and no one wants to go out to get this in the middle of the night!
I hope you don’t have to prepare and reference this post often! Please add your tips below to help care for a sick toddler!