25 Genius Sick Ideas & Activities when Kids are Home Sick

Disclaimer: This page may include affiliate links. I may earn a small commission from some of the brands mentioned here. Click here for more info.

Facebook
Pinterest
Email
Print

Looking for sick ideas for when your kids are home sick? Or mom sick ideas for when you are sick and your house is full of kids and you just can’t work? You’ve come to the right place! I want to share my top sick day activities, kids medicines, sick kid tricks, and everything that keeps me going when we have a sick day with my kids at home.


How to have sick days for kids when you work at home. This article is all about Sick day activities for kids and indoor activities for kids and toddlers. I'm loving these ideas about crafts for children at home and crafts for boredom for older and younger children to help you work at home and help your kids have a sick day. Learn more about Sick day activities for kids at modernwahm.com.
Pin me now!

You guys, my kids have been sick 8 times in the last 4 months. EIGHT TIMES.

I work from home for 40 hours a week (with a real employer!) and every time they get sick, I try my darndest to keep working while they are home sick.

Does it work? Not always. I have taken my fair share of sick day this year for sure.

But sometimes it does! I have a LOT of tricks of my sleeve to make my kids comfortable, entertained, and sometimes even happy while they are sick…and while I work.

Ready to hear all my sick ideas and fun family activity sick ideas? Keep reading!

Looking for sick ideas activities that can keep kids entertained when they're not feeling well? These activities are sure to do the trick.
See how we use the Portal to babysit our kids when they are sick here!


Cold Medicine that Really Works

A few months ago I was sick and the kids were sick. It was a sight. I was covered with snot, and I found myself laying on the living room sofa just bawling my eyes out.

My husband asked me what was wrong, and I ugly-cried about all the things I couldn’t do. I couldn’t work, watch kids, and try to keep every sick person away from the other people. I just couldn’t. I couldn’t keep my house clean. And please don’t ASK me about making dinner.

Mascara was running everywhere. And I said “I’m supposed to be able to watch two kids and work. Heck, I even have a website telling moms they can do this. And, I’m totally failing!”

He looked at me and said “Maybe THAT’S what you need to be sharing with the other moms. That it’s HARD.

So, there you have it. I’m not actually going to share a video of me sobbing with mascara running down my face. But, if you want a picture of what goes on really behind the lens. That’s it.

In the words of my friend Lindsey from The Family Money Mentor: “There is no such thing as a perfect week. Our time and schedule is almost never the ‘ideal’ that we think M-F should look like. There’s always a night of wrecked sleep, or a broken water heater…or a sick day. Learn to expect the unexpected and these things won’t throw you off mentally so much. We know in winter living with little kids there will be sick days, so just expecting them and building in some slack to our work schedule is a nice way to help!”


Ok, let’s talk about medicine. I am ALWAYS looking for medicines that will make things easier. I have tried A TON, and not all live up to their claims (or reviews!). I’m the mom that is ordering medicine on Amazon at 4 am because I just can’t take it anymore!

In fact, did you know that Amazon has OVERNIGHT delivery with an order of $35 or more? Many times I order medicine at 4 am, and it’s delivered by 9 am. MAGIC I TELL YOU.

As I write this I have a 5 year old and 2 year old. I have tried everything on the market for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Here are my favorites that I repeat-buy for fever and colds.

Just a note – I am only including things that I think actually work. I have tried other things I am not listing here (and even things that we are currently testing out), but I’m not including just because I don’t actually know if they work. Don’t want to lead you astray!


Screen Shot 2021 12 26 at 3.30.19 PM

Zarbee’s Child Natural Cough Syrup Day/Night

THIS is my holy grail. Whenever I see the Zarbees Day/Night pack, I stock up on it. If you ever see it in Costco, BUY IT I tell you. You will not be disappointed. I can’t find it easily, so am so glad when it’s restocked. This is the medicine that my kids happily take, and are immediately calmed down by. They cough less, have less mucus, and sleep like babies.

I have tried Hylands, Chestal Honey, Wellements, and Kids Propolis Immune Spray. Nothing works like Zarbees.


Screen Shot 2021 12 26 at 3.37.45 PM

Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s All in One Cough Syrup + Mucus

If you can’t find the Zarbee’s Day/Night pack, grab this version. It is SO GOOD. The tumeric root really makes it pack a punch. I love it day and night.

If you are going to use it for night time, Add in the Melatonin below to the SAME SPECIFICATIONS as Zarbee’s recommends in the above pack. Here is the nutrition label for if you are unsure about how much to give per age.

Screen Shot 2021 12 26 at 3.41.35 PM
Screen Shot 2021 12 26 at 3.41.43 PM

Screen Shot 2021 12 26 at 3.43.55 PM

Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Sleep Liquid with Melatonin Supplement

Let me preface this by saying I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Do not do anything I say without consulting your physician.

Also, let me say that I do not use Melatonin for my kids regularly. I do not drug them. I do not give them Tylenol, Benadryl, or Melatonin “just to get them to go to sleep.”

But, when they are sick, I find it really helpful to give them a TINY melatonin. I only give them the amount specified on Zarbee’s label. And for kids age 2, I give them 0.5 mg as is specified on the Night/Day 2-pack label above.

Using this Melatonin helps my kids sleep easier when they are sick. It is magical to me, and I TOTALLY recommend it.


Screen Shot 2021 12 27 at 11.04.24 AM

Little Remedies Sore Throat Pops, Made With Real Honey

I love lollipops for sore throats for little kids. I hate it when sick kids are unable to breath because their throats are in pain. These Little Remedies lollipops for sore throats are also the best for when kids are antsy, and don’t want to stay seated playing. I can give my son a lollipop in his high chair while I make dinner and he is happy, not in pain, and can stay seated for a few minutes.

I have tried many cough lollipops, and these are our favorite. They taste good, don’t take forever for kids to suck, and are all around really helpful for busy moms!


Screen Shot 2021 12 27 at 2.16.50 PM

FridaBaby Baby Nasal Aspirator

I know this is gross. And I swore I would never use one of these. But when your 2 year old can’t sleep because their nose is stuffy, you will do ANYTHING to help them breathe better. Including sucking snot through a straw. Just for the record, I have used this for years, and I don’t always get the cold they have. So, I don’t think it transmits germs…that was my one concern.

Make sure you use this with this saline spray, which is the best in my opinion (I’ve tried many!). I learned how to use this in the Emergency Room from a nurse (it’s a long story….), and she told me to put saline both nostrils, and then alternate squeezing out the nostrils. If you put saline in the right nostril, then sucking out the left nostril will be the most effective because it works best with opposite nostrils. Not sure why, but it works.


Screen Shot 2021 12 27 at 2.23.07 PM

Frida Baby Fridababy 3-in-1 Humidifier with Diffuser and Nightlight

I definitely think you need to use a humidifier with sick kids. It always helps my kids sleep better. We’ve used several brands, and this Frida Baby is the one that has lasted the longest.

I love the nightlight option, and you can use essential oils too if you want. It’s super calming, and I think it is a game changer.


Screen Shot 2021 12 27 at 2.27.22 PM

Vicks VapoRub, Lavender

Ok, this is the last “must-have”. It is KEY to getting my son to sleep when he can’t breathe. I spread it on his chest, and it immediately calms him down. DON’T get the baby version – it’s not worth it. I love the adult version even for kids. And the lavender is magical for calming kids down at bedtime.


Screen Shot 2021 12 27 at 3.16.32 PM

Viva Naturals Elderberry, Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin D3 5000 IU & Ginger 

This one is for you mamas! I have taken this for years and have re-purchased many times. Like I said, my kids got sick 8 times this fall, and I only got sick once. Not sure if this is why….but I’m giving these vitamins all the credit!


Sick Ideas and Tricks for At Home

After your medicine cabinet is complete, it’s time to make sure your house is sick-proof. This is my favorite way to make me feel equipped. It doesn’t make a sick week perfect, but it helps!

How to prep each room

Bedroom Quarantine – Right now my kids have separate bedrooms, so I make sure that every bedroom is prepared. Each has a trash can, a new tissue box, a hamper, and a humidifier.

We try to keep kids separated when they are sick, so I make sure my daughter has a table set up in her room for snacks and meals. She is 5 years old, and loves eating “like a big kid in her room”. This allows her to stay separate from my 2 year old. It doesn’t always work, but we have definitely had colds come and go where both kids didn’t get sick. It’s a WIN.

Clothes Hampers – Also, about the hamper thing. I don’t keep a strict hamper rule like “the hamper in my daughter’s room is just for my daughter’s clothes.” Instead I keep a hamper in every room so I don’t have to move just to strip clothes off of kids. If we are in her room, all clothes go in that one. If we are in my son’s room, all the clothes go in that hamper.

Like I mentioned here in my work at home mom guide to cleaning, the key to cleaning is LOCATION. Let’s agree to not take more steps than we need to!


Looking for sick ideas activities that can keep kids entertained when they're not feeling well? These activities are sure to do the trick.

How to prep your bathroom/kitchen

Medicine Stations – Now is the time to get out all your cold (or flu/viral/antibiotic) medicines and put them in a designated area. I have a plastic tray like this one in the middle of my kids’ bathroom counter, and I use it to hold all the medicines, the NoseFrida, the medicine dispensers, and anything else that is floating around.

I also do the exact same thing in my kitchen. I keep a “medicine station” on both counters. This way I don’t have to go upstairs/downstairs if I need to give the next dose. I often have doubles of medicine bottles, so consider getting two bottles if possible to make this easier for you.

Don’t forget to buy tons of lysol wipes and put them in EVERY ROOM! I keep them out and try to clean the doorknobs, switch plates, and anywhere we touch…every night.

Kitchen Hamper – Let’s talk about your kitchen. YOU NEED A HAMPER IN YOUR KITCHEN. This solution has saved me so many times. I keep a mesh trash can like this under my kitchen sink (all the time, year round.) I often strip my kids after dinner, and all the dirty clothes go right in this can. It’s also the best for sick clothes, and snotty rags. I usually wash it once a day (along with towels or sheets) so it doesn’t build up.

Ways to keep sick kids entertained

Raise your hand if you try to keep working when your kids are sick. 🙋🏽‍♀️

It’s the HARDEST.

About half the time I’m able to keep working (at my home office desk – see working with kids looks like here) while my kids are sick. The other half of the time, I take a sick day because it’s just so dang hard.

I’m going to share below my favorite sick kid activities (so you can keep working and living your life!), but if you want to explore even more sick ideas for kids, check out these posts:


Water Activities

When in doubt, water fixes everything.

Mid-day Baths – When kids are sick, I LOVE mid-day baths for the kids. My kids love a warm bubble bath, and it feels so good when they are sick. I add some bubbles, some of their Paw Patrol pup toys, and they could play there for hours. Ok, maybe not hours. But a long time.

I sit in the bathroom with my laptop and get some work hours in!

CHANGE IT UP > give them a Pedialyte popsicle in the tub. It’s the best!


Craft Activities

Accessible Craft Cabinet – I have a VERY extensive craft cabinet – one that my daughter can open and explore by herself. Because I work at home, I find the best qualification for a craft cabinet, is that it is KID-FRIENDLY.

My daughter is able to open the cabinet, find what she wants to play with, and have a system for doing crafts herself. I usually open this up on sick days and let her pick anything she wants. Little kids are often distracted with crafts that I find in the back of the cabinet (even ones that she’s done before!) so they are a great way to distract on sick days.

To see how I set up our craft cabinet for my daughter’s independent play, check out these vidoes here!

Favorite craft cabinet supplies for toddlers and preschoolers:

350

Cuddle Time

This year I have been more and more convinced that I let work and “productive time” get in the way of just hanging with my kids. When my kids look back, I want them to look back on sick days and feel spoiled. Movies. Games. Cuddle time. Bubble baths. Special dinners.

(PS – Don’t forget to make piles of blankets, pillows, and cozy things in the living room for kids to feel comfy on the couch!)

But, when you are working at home, it is SO EASY to put them in front of the TV, and just keep working.

Let me suggest an alternative!

Two Monitors – I have two monitors set up on my desk. One is just my laptop, and the other is a large monitor that is hooked up via HDMI to my computer.

I love this monitor anyway, because I use it everyday for all the programs I’m working on.

BUT, when my kids are sick, they love to sit on my lap and watch a movie on my laptop. I’m able to hold them and keep working on the other monitor. It allows me to work and hold them at the same time. It is invaluable!


Screen Shot 2022 01 06 at 2.20.40 PM

Here is a monitor similar to what I have


Screen Shot 2022 01 06 at 2.21.20 PM

Here is a really cool portable option


Pretend Play

My entire goal as a work at home mom is to teach my kids how to play by themselves. This works when they are sick too! Sometimes they definitely need more hand-holding and creative sick ideas and activity ideas than just toys, but don’t just assume that sick time = screen time.

Here is my complete guide for teaching kids to play by themselves!

This is also the best time to have an activity kit available. My kids get KiwiCo boxes (they have for years. We pay, this isn’t sponsored!).

I like to save a box for sick days, so I always have something to pull out!

Every month my kids get an age-appropriate activity box that has 3-4 craft/activities that uses the STEM process (science, technology, engineering, math) to give you smart, hands-on sick ideas activities to do with your child. They have awesome boxes that are age-appropriate for all ages.

KiwiCo for homeschooling 2

I also love keeping all the previous boxes so I have a supply of activities I can rotate year-round. I keep all her old activities in an organized plastic box and pull out one or two a week. (“Do you want to do your doctor kit or dinosaur matching game this week?”)

To see how I store and re-use our KiwiCo activities, see my Insta Stories here.

To try out KiwiCo for one month with a 15% discount, click here and use the code LEARN!

Read my full KiwiCo and Kiwi Panda Crate review here. I share an unusual perspective!


Alternatives to Screen Time

Ok, before we get into screen time….let’s talk alternatives to screen time. Kids want to be entertained. That’s what they want. And sometimes it’s possible without screens! Here are a few of my favorites:


Screen Shot 2022 01 12 at 9.30.15 AM

Portable Bluetooth Speaker for Kids

My kids got this for Christmas and LOVE IT. It’s the perfect size to hold, and to carry around while they listen to music. I stream music to it from my phone (usually a fun Spotify playlist!), or they listen to audio books!

My favorite way to get free audiobooks, is to use my library card and hook it up to the The Libby App. You can download audiobooks for free!


Screen Shot 2022 01 12 at 9.35.06 AM

Portable Top Loading CD Boombox

Remember CD’s? YEP THEY ARE STILL A THING.

Especially in my kids rooms!

My kids LOVE this thing! They play cd’s all the time – with books on CD from the library, lullaby’s before they go to bed, old music cd’s that I have found in storage…

I usually get one or two cd’s for them for Christmas or their birthday, and their grandparents also love giving them books on CD. This gift is magic to them!

TIP: Get a CD player with Sleep mode. Then you can leave it in their room at bedtime, and it automatically turns off at night!


Movies and Screen Time

Screen Shot 2022 01 15 at 2.58.58 PM

Fire HD 8 Kids tablet, 8″ HD display

Screen time. This is a buzz words for moms. Pro? Con? It’s complicated, and every season is different.

In our homes, we try to tow a fine line. A little screen time…but play and toys first. But, if mom needs a “babysitter” while I get dinner ready, you’d better believe we do a little screen time.

That said, when kids are sick, I am PRO screen time. I remember as a kid being able to eat dinner on the couch and watch the Andy Griffith show. It was the one time there were no rules!

In our house, like I mentioned, I like to keep kids quarantined (even if it’s just a cold!), so we allow tablet usage in the bedroom.

Let’s talk tablets.

We finally bought one this week, and spent a lot of time researching. Kids tablets? iPads?

We finally settled on the Amazon Fire for kids, because of a few reasons:

  • It is cheaper than other options (especially over Black Friday!), so I don’t mind if my kids toss it around
  • It is a good “learning tool” for them to learn a tablet interface, before they jump into larger devices
  • It already comes preloaded with content for the first month. I love downloading kids shows, but was really impressed with the repertoire.
  • To prevent my kids from becoming possessive and addicted, I only bought one so they could share it. And, I bought the blue one so my daughter didn’t think it was just hers!
  • They have a 2 year warranty if anything breaks

If you want to hear more about how we use the Amazon Fire for kids, check out my video here!

Snacks and Drinks

As soon as my kids start getting sick, I put in an Instacart order for all the necessities. The medicines. The food. The treats. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Oyster Crackers (or Saltine Crackers)
  • Ginger Ale
  • Chicken Soup
  • Eggs and bread for toast and jam
  • Pedialyte Popsicles
  • Dried fruit, applesauce pouches, bananas, yogurt, favorite fruit

I like having easy options that don’t make me cook – that taste good to sick tummies. One of our favorites is breakfast for dinner, and I love making these banana pancakes! They only require two ingredients (eggs and bananas) and taste so good when you are sick!

TIP – Brew a bunch of Throat Coat tea, and keep in the fridge. Mix with juice or water and let your kid drink it all day! It really does feel great cold for little kids.

Mom tricks to keep it together when everyone is sick

That’s what we do, right? Just keep it together. Sleep. Rest. Clean the laundry. Make the food. Wipe up the kitchen. Clean the bathrooms.

Do you have any tricks for keeping it together? Share please! We need all the help we can get.

Sick Ideas for Kids of Working Parents

9 GENIUS Tips for Working from home with a newborn

How to foster independent play time by age (Must-Have WAHM survival guide!)

When do kids stop napping: 16 Foolproof Tips for Quiet Time and Naptime

Free 40 Hour Work From Home Mom Schedule Template


How do I entertain my sick child?

Looking for sick ideas for when your kids are home sick? Or mom sick ideas for when you are sick and your house is full of kids and you just can’t work? You’ve come to the right place! I want to share my top sick ideas activities, kids medicines, sick kid tricks, and everything that keeps me going when we have a sick day with my kids at home.

What do you do when you are bored and sick at home?

My entire goal as a work at home mom is to teach my kids how to play by themselves. This works when they are sick too! Sometimes they definitely need more hand-holding and creative sick ideas and activity ideas, but don’t just assume that sick time = screen time. Here is my complete guide for teaching kids to play by themselves!

How do you keep kids busy when sick?

Ok, before we get into screen time….let’s talk alternatives to screen time. Kids want to be entertained. That’s what they want. And sometimes it’s possible without screens! Here are a few of my favorites.

How do I make my sick child happy?

This year I have been more and more convinced that I let work and “productive time” get in the way of just hanging with my kids. When my kids look back, I want them to look back on sick days and feel spoiled. Movies. Games. Cuddle time. Bubble baths. Special dinners.

Leave a Reply

Oh hey there!

I’m Ginny and can’t wait to meet you! I work 50+ hours a week. Mom my two kids. And strive everyday to spend more real time with my husband and kids.

All I want to be is a good mom who works hard. That’s not too much to ask, right?  Come hang out with me and do more than the bare minimum.

Untitled (800 x 1200 px) (1500 x 800 px) (600 x 600 px) (2)

Grab your free pocket guide!

Grab my pocket guide of daily self-care tips to give you more brain space and calm your soul.

Must-have tips you need for SICK DAYS at home.

Let’s get to the good stuff

Resources for exactly where you are.

Untitled (800 x 1200 px) (1500 x 800 px) (600 x 600 px) (3)

FREE GUIDE

Just starting working from home?

Enjoy my Starter WAHM Guide to learn how to work and mom smarter.

Untitled (800 x 1200 px) (1500 x 800 px) (600 x 600 px) (4)

FREE PLANNER

Need a new way to schedule your day?

Grab my free schedule printable to juggle all your schedules on one piece of paper.

Untitled (800 x 1200 px) (1500 x 800 px) (600 x 600 px) (1)

DELUXE MOM PLANNER

Looking for a complete routine planner?

Customize my Digital Schedule Template to organize your routines, meals, and kids activities.

Want to ask your questions? Come join me here!

Join the other moms

Make friends with other moms when you need naptime tips…or just someone to chat with while you are nursing at midnight.

This is a judgment free zone. A listening ear. A way to meet likeminded friends.

You aren’t alone! Join other moms who are juggling with the same stuff that you are. Ask all your questions and even find friends in your own area! Click below to be invited into the Modern WAHM Facebook Group.