Sick Day Specials

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Sabrina had woken up that morning, and after taking one look at her pale face and glassy eyes, I said, "There's no way you're going to school today." I took her temperature, and sure enough, she had a fever. Too sick to go to school, too sick even to play, she just lay there listlessly on the couch. A snapshot of Sabrina on that day would have made a great visual for the word puny.

"Do you want something to eat?" I asked.

"No," she replied, her voice just barely above a whisper.

"A coloring book?"

"No, thanks."

"Here, have some more water."

I passed the water bottle, and she took a sip. She looked miserable.

"Would you like to play a game of cards?"

She thought about it, but then said, "Maybe later. I don't really feel like sitting up."

At about that point, I was feeling pretty ineffective as a nurse. "Is there anything I can get for you?" I asked, anxious for her to feel better and hoping the acetaminophen would kick in soon.

"Actually," Sabrina said, "I'd like to watch George of the Jungle. I haven't seen it in a long time, and that movie always makes me laugh. I think it would make me feel better."

Glad finally to feel at least somewhat useful, I put the movie on for her, and sure enough, it worked. Sabrina was still just lying there on the couch, but she was smiling, and even laughing. (I have to admit, there's something about the way George slams into those trees that makes me laugh no matter how many times I see it!)

When the movie was over, Sabrina said that she had an idea. She wanted to watch George of the Jungle only on sick days -- "saving" the laughs for when she needed them most. Ever since, it's been a "sick day special" in our family.

We have a few other special activities, too, that we save for sick days only:

  • Covering the couch with a sheet (good for cooling fevers)
  • Serving hot decaffeinated tea (for upset tummies)
  • Serving meals on a breakfast-in-bed style tray (to make eating on the couch easier and less messy)
  • Unlimited ice-pops (for hydration and to soothe sore throats)

    No one likes being ill, but these "sick day specials" help our kids make it through those days when they're too sick to go to school.

    Looking for more creative solutions? Click here to see our best Dream Team stories.

    What sick day routines work best with your kids? Click the comments link below to find and share ideas.

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