Top Tips on looking after yourself when your child is ill by Vicki Cockerill

Having an ill child really does take it toll, the sleep deprivation hits, you lose the use of your arms for days at a time and you know the C Beebies songs of by heart. This blog focuses on top tips for looking after yourself when your little one is poorly.Vicki Cockerill freelance blogger

It is easy to forget to take care of yourself when your child is ill. You are so focused on your child and getting them better. It can be a draining and isolating time to be stuck at home while your child is poorly.

But, if you’re running on no sleep, and you find yourself not eating or drinking properly you will also begin to feel the physical effects.

This is something I know all too well, with one child having a heart condition we have had our fair share of illness and recently… a chicken pox outbreak (!)

I have two children under the age of 4 and work from home as a freelance blogger, and things certainly got a lot trickier when both boys were very ill with chicken pox.

Here are my top tips on looking after yourself (and surviving!) while your child is ill.

  • Make it easy on yourself, cut back on household chores, forget the washing, order the shopping online, nap when they do and just focus on getting through the day with as less stress as you can!
  • Accept help, there is no shame in asking a friend to take a sibling out, dropping off a meal or some shopping. We feel we cannot accept offers of help as it is a sign of failure, but actually accepting help is what you need right now!
  • Make sure you take some time out for yourself, being cooped up watching Ben and Ryan rap badly all day will drive you slowly crazy so make sure if you go for a bath when your partner gets home or ask a family member to come and sit with the little ones so you can grab a nap or shower.
  • Forget the bad parent guilt of other siblings watching too much Netflix or eating fish fingers for a few days. It really doesn’t matter in the long run!
  • Try and eat frequently and stay hydrated it can be hard when your child is stuck to you and cries as soon as you put them down but you really do need to keep your energy up especially if you have been up all through the night too. Biscuits and cold coffee unfortunately do not make for a nutritional meal.
  • Sack off the work guilt, last week I worked one day and despite knowing I had a to do list bigger than my Calpol syringe collection it just isn’t worth worrying about. It will still be there. I tried to keep my client’s updated and many were very understanding of the fact I had my hands full. It took me a few days to realise it is just not worth worrying about (easier said than done I know).
  • Reach out on social media if you’re feeling stuck or lonely. I was feeling very low after 10 days of illness and by posting online (as we couldn’t go out) suddenly put me in contact with a whole virtual support network. Well wishes, offers of food drops from those local to me and tips for chicken pox really did lift my spirits along with the friends who checked in on us regularly.
  • Only you know your child, trust your gut if something doesn’t feel right seek medical advice.

You can fade into the background and take on so much when your child is ill, you can easily make yourself ill. But, keep it simple, be kind to yourself, make it easy and focus on survival!

Oh and gin helps.

Lots and lots of gin!

Vicki Cockerill is a NICU/ CHD Mum of two boys, a freelance blogger, Co-Founder of @KnackeredandNorwich Social Club and mental health and NICU advocate.