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How I survive a sick day with my kids

2. You have permission to slow down.

How I survive a sick day with my kids

From the moment our children were born, we became instant, full-time caretakers. We cook their food, wash their clothing, tend to their wounds and change their stinky diapers. Strangely, we do it with a smile—most of the time at least. Why? Because we love them.


Love compels us to care for our children and our families with tenderness and compassion. It buoys us when we are up in the night with our teething babies. It fills us with grace to love them, even in the midst of a tantrum. It arms us with superhuman strength to protect our them from harm.

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However, in my experience, when we, our kid(s), or our husbands gets sick, all that patience and grace goes out the window.

Sick days were hard enough, even before our kids came along, but at least then we could hide under the covers and be alone. As a mom with a chronic illness (Lyme disease), I already wrestle daily with my lack of energy, focus and stamina. Tack on a cold or a stomach flu and I start to feel like a camel with one too many straws on my back.

But the truth is, sick days as a mom are as inevitable as they are doable.

If we can build healthy mindsets today (before we get sick), we will be much better equipped to handle it when the next cold or flu strikes our homes.

The next time you or your family get sick, arm yourself with these five truths:

1. It’s okay to watch TV today.

We all know that too much screen time is not good for us or our children, but when it comes to getting sick, it’s time to let go of that–just for a short time. Repeat after me: “My only goal today is to survive.” Say it again if you need to, mama.

2. You have permission to slow down.

It’s one of life’s cruel jokes that moms don’t get paid sick leave. However, on sick days, give yourself permission to be “off duty” from all household tasks that aren’t absolutely necessary. Instead, take time to be with your family, care for their needs and sleep any chance you get.

This is easy to say, but harder to put into practice. As a Type A personality, I often find myself working too hard on sick days. If you struggle with this too, keep in mind that if you can rest, you will heal faster. This means that you’ll be back to your tasks in no time.

3. You deserve rewards for getting through the day.

Our kids aren’t the only ones who need to rewards for their good behavior. I don’t know about you, but there are very few things I can’t get through when I have the promise of a cookie at the end of the day.

When I’m struggling on a sick day, I give myself a tangible reward to look forward to when everyone goes to bed—like dessert or an episode of my favorite show. It helps me rally when the day feels so long.

4. Stay connected in order to stay sane.

Being sick, particularly when you are contagious, can be isolating. Cabin fever can sneak in real fast. Don’t give in to the isolation or let yourself sink down into your negative thoughts. Instead, find a way to connect.

Consider setting up a video chat date or text chat with another mom. No one in the world will know how you are feeling better than they will. Engage as much as you are able and share your struggles and frustrations.

5. This is the perfect day to soak in the cuddles.

The one and only good thing about our kids getting sick is that they tend to be extra cuddly. Take the time to sit and hold them. They are growing up fast and they need you today.

Think of sick days as a pause button in their lives–not a wasted day to be rushed through. Sometimes the hardest mom days can be the most memorable, when we take the opportunity to bond with our children.

Let’s face it—regardless of how much you prepare for sick days, they are going to be tough. However, if we can give ourselves grace and learn to rest and tend to our own needs when possible, we will all be a lot better off when they strike. You’ve got this, mama.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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