By Jennifer Ellis

A sick child is a stress producer for both the child and the parent. The child is irritable and bored and the parent is at wit’s end trying to keep the child happy. The doctor tells you to keep fluid in the child, keep him nourished and keep him away from other children. None of these things is what the child wants to do.
Here are a few suggestions to try to keep you and your child happy while recovering.

To keep fluid in your child, try freezing Kool-Aid or food colored water in an ice cube tray. Drop these into your child’s drink and watch the colors melt and swirl. Combine blue and yellow cubes in your child’s water and let your child watch it turn green. Try drinking it with a crazy straw.

Snow cones, slushes and popsicles will also deliver fluid to your child without objection. To make a sport drink slush, freeze your child’s favorite sports drink into ice cubes. Place them into a blender or food processor and crush them slightly. Pour the crushed ice over a glass of sport drink or water.

White popsicles are now available. They are called “Great White Shark”popsicles and are in the freezer section of most grocery stores. Because they are white, they don’t stain when dripped – perfect for eating while in bed or stuck indoors. You can also make “dripless popsicles”. The recipe can be found at

Applesauce, Jell-O, and soup can be made more fun by sipping them through straws. It’s best to use a wide straw when trying to get food through. Sonic has nice, wide, sturdy straws if you can’t find any in your grocery store.

To get nutrition into a sick child, try offering small portions of finger-type food in a muffin tin. Carrots sticks with dip, cheese cubes, apple slices, corn kernels, green beans, and grapes make good choices. A large variety is available this way without seeming like a lot of food and overwhelming the child who is not hungry in the first place.

TheraPatch ( has cooling “Band-Aid” type patches for fever and vapor patches for coughing. Both are designed for children and are available at most drug stores. Breathe Right ( a nasal strip for congestion and TraxIt ( wearable underarm thermometers.

Good toys for sick children are the Kelly Chicken Pox doll by Barbie (her chicken pox appear and then disappear), a doctor’s kit and doll, choose-your-own-ending books, and make-your-own-paper-airplane directions and a stack of paper for the older kids

If your child will be sick or hospitalized for a while you can get a pre-packed activity-filled backpack from Freckled Fish Activities ( The have a specifically designed backpack for children who are sick or in the hospital. They also have games to print for your child to play while surfing on the television – TV Surfer’s Bingo, TV Surfer’s Scavenger Hunt, and TV Surfer’s Letter Find.

Hopefully, this will help you with ideas to keep your child happier while he is sick. Good luck!

Jennifer Ellis is a former elementary education teacher and now a stay-at-home mom. Visit her website at to see her activity-filled clear vinyl travel, restaurant and hospital backpacks for kids.