Oh my, children can be a handful, especially when they’re sick with a cold or the flu. Often times they refuse to drink anything. And staying hydrated is important for feeling better and getting healthy.
What Can You Do?
Don’t worry, there are ways to overcome this power struggle, even with strong-willed children and toddlers.
When my kids were sick, I remember giving them lots of water. But the sippy cups and water bottles would sit on the table untouched as they watched TV. They continued to feel miserable. And my constant nagging didn’t help.
Now what? So, I called my mom for advice. She always knew tips on how to be a playful, positive parent.
She said three little words:
“Make it fun!”
It was like magic!
This playful attitude makes parenting more rewarding.
Learn how to have more fun as a parent, empower your kids, and spend more quality time connecting.
10 Playful Parenting Tips
Let’s get your sick child feeling better!
1. Play a Game
Kids love games, so create a game where the drink is the reward. Find something that your child loves and incorporate that into a game. For instance, everyone takes a drink each time someone:
- Lands on a certain color square in a board game
- Says a certain word during a TV show/movie (like “Simba” during The Lion King)
- Rolls a certain number on the dice
This trick even comes in handy when I get sick. I still play this game when I get sick, and my kids are living on their own!
2. Make a Party Platter of Fruit and Veggies
It can get tiresome drinking all day long.
To shake it up, give your child liquids through food. Did you know that many fruits and vegetables have over 90% of water content?
That’s a lot!
This includes yummy treats like watermelon, cucumbers, strawberries, oranges, cantaloupe, tomatoes, pears, pineapple, lettuce, and broccoli.
You can even cut the pieces into interesting shapes and arrange everything on a pretty plate.
Now it’s like party food! Your child won’t even realize they’re drinking liquids.
3. Set a Timer
Set a timer to remind your child to drink and turn the activity into a game.
Get excited and jump around when the timer buzzes, let them turn it off, praise when they drink and have them help reset it for the next drinking schedule.
4. Buy Really Cool Straws
Find really fun straws and save them for when your child is sick. These become a novelty and more exciting, thus your child will be more inclined to drink.
Also, people tend to drink more liquid with a straw.
5. Designate Special “Sick Time” Cups
Ooh, get special “sick time” cups with your child’s favorites characters or colors.
You can also buy them together ahead of time, making a big deal about the purchase. At home, find a designated spot in the cabinet.
6. Make a Smoothie
Yum, everyone loves smoothies!
For fun, have your child order the smoothie, like they would in a restaurant. Then drag over a chair, so they can watch up close as it mixes in the blender.
7. Offer Popsicles
Don’t forget this popular trick.
Kids love popsicles!
And they’re even more delicious when your child makes them. Just pour your favorite drink into a popsicle mold and add a popsicle stick or spoon for the handle.
Don’t have a mold? No problem. Use an ice cube tray, baking muffin pan, paper cup, plastic container, or even a recycled yogurt cup.
8. Make Flavored Ice Cubes
Spiff up drinks with flavored ice cubes. Use regular ice cube trays or buy decorative ones for festive shapes.
Put in treats like berries, mint, Gummy bears, and other things that your child likes.
You can also fill the tray with orange juice, coconut water, or other tasty liquids.
9. Serve Frozen Watermelon
Next time you have a watermelon, make sure to save pieces in the freezer.
So they don’t stick together, place them on a cookie sheet, freeze, and then store in a container. Place the watermelon pieces in the cup to liven up a drink.
10. Use Small Cups
Why? Because it’s easier and more rewarding for the child to finish each drink then staring at a large daunting cup.
Please note that I’m not a health professional. I’m a mom sharing my experience, so this info is not meant to take the place of your doctor’s advice.
Which were your favorite examples? Do you have tricks to get your sick child healthy? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Next time your kids are not cooperating, turn around this stressful situation and make parenting a game. My parents used this trick with me, and it’s how I raised my two kids.
As a stressed-out single parent, this playful approach was a lifesaver.
I share this technique in Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It. Parents are super busy and most don’t have time to read. That’s why I wrote an easy-to-read book with super short, light-hearted chapters and a snarky “let’s-be-real” tone.
In only 5-10 minutes, you’ll learn clever ways to get toddlers, school-age children, and even headstrong kids to cooperate—willingly! You can read whenever you’re waiting or have a spare moment.
You’ll have more fun as a parent, empower your kids, and spend more quality time connecting.
“The stories are engaging! I love the mother’s creativity to get her children to do something they didn’t want to do” –Barbara Ching, parent
Still not sure? Read a sample chapter. In a few minutes, you’ll gain new insights… and have a few laughs.