My eldest child is hardly ever ill. My youngest however gets everything going, and always gets it to the extreme. However at the end of last year we had a really bad run with the two of them. Tonsillitis, sickness bugs, ear infections and raging temperatures for no apparent reason.

For a good two months it felt like someone was always ill. So much so we even had a letter home about attendance. But there’s not much you can do when your child is too ill for school!

So if you are in the trenches right now dealing with vomit, and not sure when you last left the house, hang in there. This too shall pass.

10 things that happen when your child is ill.

child is ill

1 You have to cancel Plans


Kids will always get sick when you have plans. Normally when you have plans that don’t involve them and you have childcare sorted. Of course being a parent means your social life has dwindled significantly, but still your biannual social airing is of course the perfect night for them to send the mercury soaring.

2 There will be a lot of washing

Vomit gets everywhere. They miss the bucket. They do manage to get themselves, the sofa, the blanket, the floor, the rug, the cushions, you, and the cat. Forget their first steps. The first time your kid vomits into the bucket is the real milestone to celebrate.

3 They insist on watching something awful on TV.

A poorly kid is maybe a chance for snuggles on the sofa. A chance to actually sit down. Maybe you could watch a movie together. But no. Your kid wants to watch back to back Topsy & Tim for the next two days. You want to gauge your own eyes out.

4 You will debate whether they need to see a doctor

Your own instincts are well and good. But kids change their minds quicker than I can eat a Dairy Milk.

The same goes for when they are ill. You can plead and beg for an emergency appointment at the doctors because your child hasn’t moved from the sofa for two days and is really unwell. Yet the minute you get there they are dancing around the waiting room and singing songs at the top of their voice.

Or you decide they have perked up so you won’t drag them to the doctors just to be told it is viral, when suddenly they go downhill and you end up in A&E with a huge dose of Mum guilt.

5 Your kid refuses medicine and fluids

Not all kids do this. I have one child who is very compliant at taking medicine. The other acts like I am literally trying to poison him. If you have the breed of child that refuses medication and fluids then you will know.

You will know the tactics of bribery, disguise and surprise attack. If your child is anything like mine, the bribery doesn’t work (not even for chocolate), the disguise doesn’t fool them (and wastes a whole lot of food), so you are left with the surprise attack.

The bigger they get the more people required to launch the surprise attack. And as horrible as it is pinning your child down and force feeding them calpol and fluids, It’s a case of being cruel to be kind. Because we don’t want to end up in hospital with a dehydrated child who is hotter than the sun. We’ve been there too.

6 You need to be in two places at once.

A common occurrence when you are a parent. But sods laws dictate that you will need to be at home taking care of your sick kid when you also need to be at work for a really important meeting, or you need to be at school for your other child’s award ceremony, or you need to be at the shops because there is nothing left in the fridge. Clone me now.

7 You call in a lot of favours.

Juggling work with a sick child is never easy. Juggling the school run with a sick child is hard work. And whilst you call on friends for favours it isn’t always possible. So sometimes you will be the mum with a toddler in the pushchair clutching the sick bucket. Or the mum with the very spotty kid that people are keeping a three metre distance from.

8 Everything else gets neglected

When my children are sick they become very needy. Not in a demanding way. In fact they don’t really have many demands, bar one. That I am by their side at all times. And of course when I am not by their side, because I needed a wee, that’s when they projectile.

But because of the glue like situation between me and my child, everything else gets neglected. The washing piles up, my emails are ignored, I am not sure when I last washed my hair, and my other child is left to fend for themselves. I mean he doesn’t have to go out hunting and foraging for his food, but it will be primarily beige based food groups that I can just throw in the oven.

9 All rules go out of the window

Particularly when you have the aforementioned medication and fluid refuser for a patient. When your child is ill you will let them drink all kinds of sugary crap to keep them hydrated. When Little was recovering from a particularly nasty bout of tonsillitis he had a pretty severe hot chocolate habit.

Of course the problem is at some point they will get better, and the rules have to be enforced again. That’s when you find yourself weaning a four year old off of his hot chocolate dependency.

10 You do everything to keep the contamination and contagion to a minimum

Before we were due to fly out to Australia, Little had a horrible sickness bug. Big was banned from coming in the same room as him, and if you stood still long enough in my house there was a high chance you would get a once over with the anti-bac.

Of course despite best efforts it’s not always possible to avoid spreading germs. That’s why we all look back and laugh (insert sarcastic tone) about the time we were confined to the house for 20 days because the boys got back to back chickenpox. And how we reminisce about the time all four of us got a sickness bug at the same time. Tag team vomiting and cleaning up other peoples vomit. Such fun!

It’s always hard work when your child is ill. But equally there’s a great privilege in being the one that can help them feel better. As much as I don’t want my kids to be sick, the moments of stroking their heads, or having them fall asleep on you like they did when they were a baby, are precious.

Hit me with your tips for getting children to take medicine.

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Claire Kirby

5 Comments on 10 Things that will happen when your child is ill

  1. We have one that requires the surprise attac for any medication – hate it but as you say needs to be done. My kids are always 10 times worse in the middle of the night too. #KCACOLS

  2. Some of these sounds like regular life with a kid! Thanks for linking up with #KCACOLS. Hope you come back next time.

  3. You have hit the nail on the head with this post! My daughter has suffered a lot of chest infections in the colder months and it sends our life into disarray. The debate about seeing a doctor is a tough one – I don’t want to waste their time however I don’t want to end up in A&E (again!). And the force feeding of the medicine … give me strength, ha! Its definitely a part of parenting that I hadn’t fathomed. #KCACOLS

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