Whether it’s a sickness bug or chicken pox, childhood illness can cause stress, worry, and a lot of googling. Not to mention a severe decline in the number of hours parents sleep, and a sharp incline in the amount of chocolate they eat. Maybe that’s just my house. Batten down the hatches, the kids are ill!

These are the 7 stages of childhood illness.

childhood illness

Stage One – The pre-illness grump

Best described as your kid being out-of-sorts. Symptoms can be attributed to tiredness, hanger, and / or being a toddler. Stage one of childhood illness is statistically more likely to occur when you have babysitters booked or an important meeting at work.

Stage Two – The how ill are they debate

Are they well enough for school? Do I need to rearrange my entire day? Should I take them to the doctors? Maybe I should google this rash? What temperature is normal (googled every time they are ill). Stage two of childhood illness is where parents tie themselves in knots and second guess their every move. Also the stage where they stock up on Calpol and the sleep deprivation starts.

Stage Three – When life as we know it grinds to a halt

Sleep has become a distant memory. Washing is neglected. Cbeebies is on all day. And you are not sure when you last showered. You don’t know what the stain on your top is, but are pretty sure is falls into the snot or sick category.

Your child has become a human leech, and you are not permitted out of their sight. You are pinned to the sofa stroking hair, giving cuddles, administering calpol and debating whether you can risk leaving for a wee when they fall asleep on the sofa.

The cuddles remind you of the newborn days and make you feel broody. But it soon passes when you find yourself scrubbing vomit off the carpet.

Any other children in the house become ferrel as they are forced to fend for themselves. Dinner is likely to be toast.

Stage Four – Time for the doctors

There’s no doubt now. Your child is flaked on the sofa and it’s time for the doctors. Your worry levels are off the ricter scale and you have no qualms in taking them to the doctors in their PJ’s.

A visit to the doctors can go one of two ways. Ideally the first way, where your child is examined by the doctors and given the medication they need to get them felling better.

Of course it could also go the other way, whereby your child makes a miraculous recovery the minute they are in the waiting room and you are left with the neurotic mother label. I once had a dog that did this every single time he went to the vets.

Stage Five – The relief

That feeling when they finally eat something, even if it is ice cream. The sign that there is light at the end of the tunnel when you get through a night with only one interruption. The relief stage of childhood illness means they are finally on the mend and you can put the sick bucket away.

Stage Six – The post illness grump

Highs are always followed by a low. After the relief comes the bit where you need the patience of a saint, as your child wants to play and be normal, but isn’t quite fully recovered so tires quickly.

This coincides to when you start saying no to chocolate for breakfast, and no to the 20th episode of Paw patrol, because they are starting to feel better and the anything goes window has passed.

The only word for this stage of childhood illness is grumpy.

Stage Seven – Catching up with life

Life returns to normal. Kids return to school. You disinfect everything within an inch of its life. You are just left to deal with the mountain of neglected laundry, and the bags underneath your eyes.

If you are in the midst of any of these stages, hang in there.

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From grumpy, to clingy, and back to grumpy.  These are the 7 stages of childhood illness that kids go through causing us parents anxiety, stress and relief.  But we do get some lovely cuddles.


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Claire Kirby

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