A day after Christmas my son came down with a bug. It was a nasty virus going around the merry season, affecting many of the kids at church. Having thrown up numerous times that day, he was feeling worn out the next morning and looked forward to the much needed rest at home. I on the other hand, have just bounced back from a day of physical exhaustion and the virus, and was ready to go out and enjoy some fresh air. My daughter as always, was full of energy and good naturedness but was feeling a little lost as to what to do with 3 (including dad) of the 5 in the family being sick or recovering. My baby felt a little warm and I was hoping that she would escape this nasty bug. So I prayed for wisdom…
I’m sure you’ve been in my spot before! You are home alone with your kids and one (or two!) of them is/are sick. But the show must still go on… life still continues for the other children. It is too hard to plan for an outdoor trip as the sick/recovering child is still feeling lethargic, but he would not mind having new learning activities to engage in rather than being confined to mindless TV watching or playing the iPad. And you also need the time to keep on top of your work, cook and rest yourself before you are too worn out looking after the sick ones. What do you do?
The first thing that came to me was that I needed to maintain a positive, cheerful attitude about my day. It can be very tempting to moan and have a pity party when you think about how trapped you are with your sick kids while your husband is ‘happily’ working away, escaping the chaos at home while you have to pick up the mess, especially when you are feeling quite sick yourself.
Firstly, I decided it was going to be a great day and that we were going to have a beautiful day indeed. I blessed my day with a loud voice and proclaimed blessing for each of my child. I said happily, “I’m so glad that God is healing us!”. I turned to my baby and said, “You are blessing my heart with your smiles”, which then elicit more smiles from her and made me smile in return.
I also decided that it was gonna be a day where I would have time to do what I wanted to do, rather than running around the house in exasperation because I felt worn out in the inside. I decided to bless myself – to have my coffee, a nice shower, a time to rest and read and to jump on the home bike.
I opened all my window and let the fresh breeze in – just like I was opening the windows of my heart to allow God’s light in. I took time to gaze at these flowers that sit on my dining table, and I thanked God for my husband who cared enough to buy them for me.
And I also thought about who I could bless that day and made contact with them! Somehow being in touch with others’ needs made you less upset about your own needs. I felt rich on the inside, and I wanted that to flow out.
Secondly, I remind myself that my tiny home has the potential to maximise our children’s learning potential – intellectually, physically and spiritually. I don’t have to be out. I will not be missing out. (Yes, I had to encourage myself as I was a little sad thinking that I was going to be homebound when there was so much to do outside…goodbye to swimming, going to the park, hitting the shops, reading at the library or meeting friends for coffee). Yes, you can have the same confidence too about your home! You don’t have to go after outside stimulation! With a little creativity and a lot of openness for learning, your home can be the place that your kids enjoy being. Your home can be the safe haven, the effective training ground and the creative learning centre for making memories and imparting valuable lessons to your kids. I realise when I keep an open attitude about learning, then my days at home with the children will always be full. So I came up with a plan, and I wrote on a piece of paper “Welcome to Mummy’s Adventure World”.
But I needed some time to set up before the kids could play. So i asked my daughter to read to her brother at the special reading corner I set up for them. That gave me a good half an hour of preparation time. When I peeked into their room, this was what I saw 🙂
Happily reading to and being read by! But as you can see, my little boy was still very tired and unmotivated…
I decided to entice them into my imaginary ‘cave’ and ‘treasure hunt’ game. I covered our dining table with a large bed sheet with draped blankets as doors, removed all the chairs and stuck bubble wraps by the metres all around the front of the ‘cave’, with the instruction that they needed to step on them without making them pop.
In that cave they were to live life as cave men, hunting and cooking for their food but also having the normal routine of church and school time. I placed guitars for their worship time and prepared a place for them to “fish” (with a magnetic fishing rod and some plastic fish) at a corner of the house that they had to look for. I used a mini white board for them to have school time – which was in their imagination to learn how to hunt as cavemen. I also got some coloured rice grains which I happened to have made prior and used plastic pots and pans for them to cook while they stayed inside their cave. Lastly I gave them a set of cowboy guns which we received as Christmas present for them to use in case they found some slithering snakes (which I hid beneath their rugs) or wild boar (myself) to kill.
The aim of the game was for them to then hunt for 9 gold coins which I hid around the house with the promise that their ‘cave’ would soon turn to be a ‘cinema’ for a favourite movie show with yummy snacks once they’ve found the gold coins.
The kids loved the idea and spent a good amount of their morning time inside the cave. What I like about this activity is that it is self-entertaining. I had to only set up (which took me a couple of minutes) and the game sustained the kids for a good hour. I also like the fact that it taught them creativity and imagination. It wasn’t messy as they had to keep neat as part of the rules and took a matter of minutes to restore the house to its orderly condition. They had heaps of fun at the end of the game as they played body game (calling out different body parts) and hulla hooped on the bubble wrap, giggling away as they heard the bubbles popped.
Thirdly, I needed to learn new ideas from the kids. They wanted to eat apple pie, but they wanted it cook a certain way, their way. So I had to watch a couple of you tube videos with them to see how exactly they wanted it done. We finally compromised with instant puff pastry later on and the kids did enjoy the end result.
Fourthly to top off the end of their sick days, and to herald the return of their energetic selves, I gave them a warm bath in my tub while i thanked God for another day well spent.
What about you? What do you normally do on sick days like these? Would love to hear!