I am quite sure it is one of the hardest things we do as parents is to determine how sick our child is, and whether to go out, or stay home. I think this is especially hard for those with children who have allergies or a reduced immune system, therefore chronic illnesses. If your child seems sick only occasionally, it is easy to keep them home a little while. When you are having to make the choice day after day… well, how long can you put life on hold? How many days can they miss scheduled activities or school? How do you make them feel comfortable and comforted, without giving them the idea that pretending to be sick gets you priviledges you don’t normally have? Yikes… yes, I just said that… although I am referring to older children who may be trying to avoid school. (Can you tell I have personal experience?)
It is not the scope of this article to discuss how to tell if your child is sick and contagious and needs to stay home, or how to care for a sick child, or able to go out and about, . I’m no doctor, and there are plenty of resources for that. I liked this guide in chart form to determine if it is a Cold, Flu or Allergy. And The Flu: A Guide for Parents includes some incredibly helpful information for prevention and care. There are even a good variety of Natural Ways to Not Feel Like Crap during Colds and Flu. These could be interesting to discuss in the comment section.
What I’d like for us to talk about is creating and finding “bubbles” of health for our children, at home, as well as out and about. And YES, I’d love your comments on how YOU create healthy and happy bubbles for your children.
Healthy & Happy Bubbles when Sick
Of course, if you or your child are sick, yes, it is important to create and stay home in your little bubble to avoid sharing these germs. Sharing is a wonderful social skil, but NOT with germs. And so it is important to create a “bubble” that is as happy as possible.
A child that is contagious should be kept separate from others in the family, and that might be a challenge for our active little ones who need to be quarantined, but are not feeling completely lousy.
Creating a “Get Better Bubble” for a child in their bed / bedroom that attends, not just to their physical needs, but also to their needs for laughter, joy, and connection, may improve their happiness and willingness to be contained. “This is our happy place to stay while we get better.” like a “fort” in their own on their bed, that no one can enter except mom (or other care provider). This defined visual space can actually help them feel more safe and special when equipped to their needs and interests. What will it take to encourage your child to “STAY in this bubble “no matter what”. If old enough, you can talk to them about the importance of keeping the germs away from others. Younger children. Younger children may just need a partner to create the magic in this bubble that feels safer than anywhere else. Older children can have a magic BELL they can ring that will bring mom to help meet their needs. Younger children just need frequent check ins to see what they need.
There are many ways to use sheets or curtains above the bed (search DIY Bed fort / canopy for some ideas). Just make sure that it creates enough space for them to move around a bit, and that mom can fit in for reading, games, and such.
To make the space more desirable, fill it with music they enjoy, and types of activities that will engage them as best as possible. When my daughter was really sick in the hospital at just 3 years old, she cuddled with this one tiny stuffed frog. I sang frog songs, and told stories about the adventures of this frog. I just made up stories – mostly about the frog doing things she would normally do – reminding her of her normal routin, or things she wished she could do, like riding on dragon through the clouds.
Once she started to feel better, we included a basket of percussion instruments to accompany upbeat music, or to provide sound effects for our stories. When even a lot better at home, but still house bound, we gathered the materials to make her own instruments to shake, rub, and/or strike.
You can get even more ideas for indoor musical play from this article by a friends of mine at Kindermusik International.
Good luck with your healthy & happy bubbles.
Healthy/Happy Bubbles when Well
When your family is healthy, you want to do your best to stay that way. Staying home and avoiding all opportunities to interact may help us stay healthy physically, but it can only last so long before it takes a toll on our emotions and mental health.
Typically, our car can be a fairly happy and healthy bubble, and can even be a happy diversion for a sick child to go out for a ride, but stay in the car listening and singing along with music that makes them happy. Our parents say their Kindermusik CDs are the BEST music that engages their child. (On occasion, I’ve heard they are magical miracle workers that can calm the chaos in the car.)
A stroller can be a perfect little healthy and happy bubble when needing to go into areas where there are more people, as it can limit interactions with others, or limit access to a child touching so many surfaces. Yes, I know a child can have an uncanny long reach.
When you do go out and about, it is important to find places to play that you can feel secure in knowing they are as clean as possible. Large play spaces may get cleaned daily, but how germ-free do they stay over the course of a day?
Open nature spaces without many other people provides a great space away from germs that cause bacterial or viral infections. In Lakeland, there are wonderful quiet spaces to walk & climb trees.
Small spaces, with a limited number of people, and folks dedicated to keeping the space and objects clean can be your little healthy and happy bubble away from home.
In our Kindermusik studio at Music Connections, we strive to achieve this kind of safe space for your family. Click over to this page to see exactly how we work together to stay healthy and happy in Kindermusik.
Where are some other places in Lakeland, or Polk County, Florida that you feel are a relatively safe “bubble of health”? … a place you know someone is dedicated to keeping you Happy and Healthy? Please share, as there are many families in this area, searching for ways to stay healthy, and stay sane.
Music for Celebrating Seasons
- One Saturday each month
- Register for one or more
9:30 – Babies up to 20 months
10:30 – Mixed ages: 1 – 5 years
This could be your first Kindermusik experience to enjoy together, or… This could become an anticipated monthly family ritual.