Caring For A Sick Child At Home

Caring for your child when he is ill can deepen your relationship with him. Take the day off and give him the time and affection he needs. Here are some tips on what you can do for him at home.

Comfort & Care

  • Keep your child home if he has a contagious infection, requires close attention, or lacks the alertness to learn or play.
  • Have a relative or friend take care of your child if you cannot stay home. Call every few hours to check how he’s doing and whether symptoms have changed.
  • If you can stay at home, provide rest and comfort. Change your child’s bed sheets and let him nap in your bed if he wishes. Be patient if he is moody or irritable.
  • Boredom can really get your child down so be sure to provide healthy distraction. Tune in to the children’s channel and read him stories. If he has the energy, play puzzles and board games, do colouring or play trivia.

Feeding tips

  • When he is ill, your child may have poor appetite or be unable to take his regular foods. You need to do your best to maintain his nourishment.
  • Give your child a soft diet that is easy to swallow and digest, like bread with a little jam or rice porridge. Avoid fatty or too much complex carbohydrate foods.
  • If your child has difficulty swallowing, give rice or oat porridge with strained meat and vegetables. He may need to be given fluid intravenously if he cannot take foods and fluids.
  • Food should be bland (definitely not spicy or pungent) to avoid irritating his throat and digestive tract.
  • Provided your child’s infection does not affect his digestive system (and cause diarrhoea or vomiting), you can maintain his intake of protein, vitamins and minerals by giving foods like milk and fruits. Some creativity (eg using milk in desserts or fruits asjuices or in jelly) goes a long way in nourishing a sick child.You can also give the child yogurt to provide friendly bacteria (probiotics) to help with the healing process and provide nutrition.
  • Where there is diarrhoea or vomiting, ensure sufficient fluid intake to prevent dehydration. The World Health Organisation recommends giving the watery portion of rice porridge to help manage diarrhoea and prevent dehydration.

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