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10 Playful Tips to Get Your Sick Child Healthy

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?

I remember one time when my strong-willed daughter was sick. I kept giving her lots to drink, but the sippy cups and water bottles sat on the table untouched. She felt miserable and my constant nagging didn’t help the situation.

Now what? She must drink liquids to feel better! So, I called my mom, a master at playful parenting. She said three little words: “Make it fun!”

Of course! Whenever I didn’t want to do something, my parents turned the challenge into a game. It was like magic and I’d willingly cooperate. Poof, the power struggles disappeared!

Let’s get your sick child drinking and feeling better!

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.

How to Get Your 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! One time with a bad cold, I was watching a football game and noticed that my water bottle remained full. Time to implement a game! I decided that each time the announcer said the quarterback’s name, I’d gulp some water. Ready, set, go! Oh my, this was a star quarterback, so I heard his name every few minutes. Before too long, I had finished the entire water bottle… and another… and another. The game worked and my sore throat soon felt better.

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.

Ready? Go!

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.

Related Post: How to Get a Child to Listen and Follow Directions (Simple 3-Step Process)

4. Buy Really Cool Straws

Find 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

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. You can even put 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.

Want a Fun Way to Learn Playful Parenting?

I’m Karen, a mom with two grown kids as well as a marketing consultant in K-12 Education Technology making learning fun. I’ve spent my life immersed in this playful approach because it’s how my parents raised me and how I raised my daughter and son.

When my children were young, I saw firsthand how parenting was more enjoyable, rewarding, and empowering when I created games to deal with everyday challenges.

If this helped me as a stressed-out parent, it can help you too, so I decided to share this playful approach in a playful way.

Introducing Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It, an entertaining, easy to read parenting book teaching playful parenting through whimsical stories. Perfect for busy parents, you can read a standalone, light-hearted story in only 5-10 minutes.

Whimsical and Humorous
Because life is serious enough

Lessons Told Through Stories
It entertains and inspires

Easy and Quick to Read
Because parents are VERY busy

“Let’s-Be-Real” Tone
We’ve all been there

Organized by Challenges
So it’s easy to flip through

Look inside the book for a sneak peek.

An Amazon #1 New Release in 7 parenting categories, this book shows how to put the fun in parenting.

If you’re interested, you can find my book in these online stores ($9.99 for the paperback and $7.99 for the eBook):

Amazon (paperback and eBook)

Kobo (eBook)


Check out the glowing 5-star reviews on Amazon.

★★★★★ A fun, positive and creative way to parent – must read!”

★★★★★ Great book and easy to implement!”

★★★★★“Insightful parenting techniques for challenging moments.”

★★★★★ “Delightful short stories that inspire creative parenting.”

“Through stories, parents will discover how to turn tears and conflict into joyful connection and positive change.”
—Dr. Cheryl B. Lamin, clinical psychologist


“The author gives you a ton of new strategies, and she writes in a fun way that keeps you turning pages, not the dull, academic style of many other parenting books. I cannot recommend this enough!”
–Tracey Price, parent


“This is a fabulous book written by a fun mom who knows how to make parenting a game – and makes it easier for everyone! This book contains stories with examples of how to turn a tricky parenting situation from kids whining to engagement and excitement. I’m quickly noticing when I put on a huge smile and make a situation sound fun rather than tedious, my preschooler is much more receptive and we have fewer battles. Two thumbs up from us both!” –Julie, “Fab Working Mom Life” and “Chapter Break” mommy and book blogger

Take a peek and look inside this book to read snippets and see the table of contents.

Do you have any tips for getting your sick child to drink liquids? Please share your ideas by commenting below.

Posted in Parenting Tips


  1. Sarah

    These are great tips. My daughter is sick and is barely drinking anything. I like your game idea. I’m going to play her favorite movie (The Lion King) and we’ll all drink when we hear Simba’s name. I love it! She’ll be drinking tons. Thank you!

    • Karen

      Thanks Sarah! I’m sorry your daughter is sick, but I’m thrilled that you can use this idea. (It’s also my favorite 🙂 ) I hope she feels better soon. Here’s to parenting playfully!

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