You’ve watched a fellow mum drop her coughing, spluttering, snot-machine of a child off to day-care. The same day-care YOUR child attends! You’ve rolled your eyes and thought ‘great, thanks for sharing’ while mentally pencilling in a few days of sick leave for when YOUR child inevitably goes down with the same.
Or have you?
The reality for many is that taking time away from work is a luxury that they simply can’t afford. In many households, money’s tight, and both Mum and Dad need to work just to pay the bills. In our increasingly part-time workforce, not going to work equals not getting paid.
And it is not always a monetary penalty we pay when the winter viruses strike, there is guilt too!
Some of us are lucky enough to have a great boss like business owner Paul Rafferty. As a father, he doesn’t expect his predominantly female staff to choose work over family and makes it easy for them to take their work home when their kids are sick. Yet even he admits “I can’t help a feeling of disappointment when I get that call saying they can’t come in”
Doctors claim that the average number of infections a child gets each year is about six, but for those in day care, you can double that figure. So what can you do when you’ve got Snotty-Sue sharing her drink bottle with your child?
Create an infection free zone
While you can’t avoid illness completely, there are things you can do to boost the immunity of your children and create a good line of defence. Kim Morrison of Like Chocolate For Women recommends the use of aromatherapy. “High quality, therapeutic essential oils act as an antiseptic. Oils such as Eucalyptus, Lavender, Tea Tree, Cedarwood & Pine are the BEST ones to fight infections.”
Create a village
Only a few generations ago, multiple families cohabited under the one roof, creating a much-needed support system. With vast distances now separating many of us from family members, we’re missing out on this important safety net. Create a network of support and call in help from friends, neighbours and even other mothers from your school. Knowing you have a list of trustworthy contacts at your fingertips can make the task of caring for sick kids much less stressful.
Reduce the length and severity of illness
Along with aromatherapy treatment, Kim swears by the humble onion, a powerful antioxidant. Simply cut the onion in half and leave beside your child’s bed while they sleep. Coughs will start to subside immediately. Kim also suggests the tried and tested freshly squeezed orange juice which you can get an extra kick from by adding a teaspoon of the super food, Manuka honey.
When there’s no other option
Sometimes even the best laid-out plans can go awry and you will need to stay home with your child. If you’ve got work to do, create a little “nest” of pillows and blankets close to you and have a supply of books, snacks and drawing equipment handy to keep your patient entertained. Perhaps a secret stash of stickers and new colouring books you keep hidden away for such an occasion will brighten their day.
Now we’d love to hear from you! Do you have a firm policy for keeping your child home from school or care when sick? What’s your best strategy for fighting those winter colds?