Ways to ask for your toddler’s “help” when you’re sick

For antibiotics, medical advice, and 99% of your medical needs, you’ll want to seek out your healthcare provider. But for that other little 1%, you actually have a qualified caregiver right in your own home: Baby! No, they can&;t take your temperature or prescribe medicine, but there are ways to ask Baby to help out when you’re sick that will make both of you feel a little better.

Can you grab me that?

When you’re feeling sick and tired, the smallest tasks can exhaust you. Asking Baby to fetch you things from across the room or the other side of your home will make them feel useful, give them something to do, and legitimately help you out. Baby will probably be happy to grab you an apple from the kitchen or a blanket from the couch, and you’ll be able to focus that extra energy on feeling better.

You know what’s fun? Washing our hands.

Of course, nothing makes you feel better than some snuggles from Baby, but the last thing you want is for them to get sick too. By asking Baby to keep their hands clean, avoid using items you’ve touched, and keep the snuggles to a minimum while (and if) you’re contagious, you’ll hopefully save yourself more sickness down the line. Your toddler keeping themself healthy is the biggest help they can give you.

Why don’t you try doing it?

Another big thing Baby can do right now is take the lead on some of the things you’d usually be doing. Usually you might get breakfast ready, but hey, Baby knows where the snacks are. Maybe they can grab some cereal off the bottom shelf? They can also brush their own teeth today, pick their own outfit, and choose the book you two read. If they need help with something, you’re of course there to provide, but today is a great day to try out a little independence.

Can you wait until next week?

A little patience from Baby right now is a huge gift. Toddlers have surprisingly good memories for things they’ve been promised: a day at the park, a trip to the movies, a playdate with a friend, and so on. It’s possible that Baby will bring up some out-of-the-house activity while you’re feeling down, and you might need to ask them to do you a huge favor and put this on their calendar for next week. You can explain that you’re excited to go too, but that you’re sick and need Baby to take a rain check. It might help to have a couple indoor activities in your back pocket to entertain them in the meantime.

Remember: you’re resilient, and so is Baby. You might not be on top of your game while you’re not feeling well, but Baby is going to survive a day of minimal activities and a thrown-together meal or two. If your sickness takes a turn for the worse, have Baby grab your phone for you so that you can call in reinforcements. Get well soon!

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