Activities for sick days with a toddler

Sick days are super tough for us as parents – we’re grumpy, late to work, and a bit disorganized. But when your toddler is sick the world stops – well, in our homes it does, anyway. Of course, the world outside of the home keeps going, and the deadlines keep coming. When my son is sick, I prepare to change my routine for a while and reduce my expectations. It helps me to do a little less panicking about my to-do list.

A couple of weeks ago was one of those times. There we were, living our normal, boring-but-busy lives, and out of nowhere, my son came into the room with a full body rash! The doctors believed it was a viral infection, so they said it was best for the virus to take its course. For me, that course meant a schedule change – sick baby meant no daycare and no daycare meant mom would need to push back a few deadlines.

It also meant I had to be creative. My son made it very clear that just because he was sick, that didn’t mean he had any intentions of slowing down. If your toddler is anything like mine, you know being sick does not always mean there have been any changes in energy. Here are a few things you can do if you find yourself in the position we were in last week with a sick baby.

Movie day

At almost two, your child has probably started paying attention to the TV.  In a lot of ways, this is a really cool milestone. Gone are the days when they started a the multi-color box in confusion. Now, they understand what’s happening on screen and engage with the program through repeating things, and laughter. On the first day I had a sick boy at home, we watched a lot of TV. That allowed me to get a little bit of work done around the house while still finding a task that could keep him stimulated. TV is a godsend.

Business as usual

If my son weren’t at home, he would have been working on his shapes colors and numbers. Since he didn’t seem any more tired than usual, it only made sense to work on those things at home.

A sick day is an excellent opportunity to practice some home-learning. Going over flashcards with colors and numbers is how we spent some of our free time. Just because they have the day out of school doesn’t mean that toddlers’ brains don’t still need to be stimulated.


Depending on how sick your kid is, you might end up spending a great deal of your time trying to get them to nap. The first day of sickness, my son was a bit less playful than usual, and spent a lot of time napping. There’s nothing wrong with this – if your baby seems to be feeling under the weather, it’s perfectly fine to let them spend the day resting. It’s what we do as adults when we don’t feel well, and of course, adults and children have similar needs. And if that nap happens to come with the bonus of productivity for mom – who am I to pass up the opportunity?

Sick days are rough on children and parents. Spend those days taking it easy and loving on Baby. With a day of cuddles, food, and some rest, everything should be better soon.

About the author:
Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez is a writer who specializes in sociology, health, and parenting. Her work has appeared in Healthline, Yes! Magazine, HuffPost, Allure, and many other publications. Follow her on FacebookTwitter or check out her website.

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