To make things a little bit easier, I have some tricks I use to prepare for and survive when my kids get sick.
- Keep empty ice cream buckets under their beds at all times. My older kids know they're under there and can grab them if need be. Also, this way, I'm not scrambling to find a bucket for them in the middle of the night.
- If there's any chance that someone will throw up during the night, I lay several layers of big bath towels or blankets on their bed. There's nothing worse than having to re-make a bed in the middle of the night so grabbing a towel off the top of the bed and throwing it in a laundry basket makes things so much easier. If the first round of vomit caught you off guard, strip the bedding and throw some towels or blankets over the mattress until morning. It's also a good idea to keep some flannel backed vinyl tableclothes on hand to protect surfaces.
- Keep an extra set of clothing in the car for each kid. Kids are notorious for throwing up while you're out so having something extra for them to wear can be a lifesaver. I currently need to restock Star's extra set of clothing as the stomach flu hit her hard while we were out running errands on Friday. It wasn't pretty, and I'm pretty sure a janitor somewhere hates us.
- Tape a dosage chart for tylenol and other meds inside your medicine cabinet. I have a box set up just for medication and other stuff we may need when the kids are sick so I can easily find what they need and move the box to wherever I need it.
- Move the sick child to a location where you can keep an eye on them. I throw a big blanket over the couch or on the floor and set up a "sick spot" with a bucket, tissues, wet wipes, and some books and small toys. If the blanket gets dirty, toss it in the laundry and replace it with another one. This is another time the vinyl tablecloth can come in handy.
- I keep a few pull-ups in different sizes on hand for times when diarrhea strikes. My kids have never complained about wearing them when they're sick and it saves a lot of messes. Obviously, this only works for younger kids.
- I plan a "catch-up" day for household chores after everyone is better. I can relax a little bit about the disastrous state of my house when I'm too busy cleaning messes and rocking sick little ones to clean if I know that I will spend a day catching up when it's all over.
- I keep Gatorade in the cupboard and my kids know that they can only have it when they're sick. Don't want them getting dehydrated! Also, even when my kids are past the sippy cup stage, I keep a few on hand so they can sip a drink and stay hydrated while they're resting without worrying about spilling.