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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!

Want to Learn This Playful Approach?

Let’s get your sick child drinking and feeling better! If you’re interested, sign up and download a printable tip sheet on quick-to-implement, simple ways to get your child to listen and cooperate.

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.

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.

Related Post: How to Make Chores Fun for Kids… and Adults

Want to Get Inspired?

Sign up and download a printable tips sheet with easy-to-implement ideas. You can hang it on your fridge or carry it with you as a quick playful parenting reference. These are also described in my blog post, How to Be a Fun Mom and Playful Parent—in Less Than a Minute (Like Mary Poppins!)

Want More?

Parents are super busy. That’s for sure! Now my kids are grown, but I remember those days where I barely had time to do anything. I was always racing around, attending school events, and taking them to after-school activities. It was especially challenging since I was a stressed-out single parent. Today, life is even busier with smartphones always within reach.

Yes, smartphones! That got me thinking. I could share this effective, playful parenting approach in an entertaining, easy to read way.

We all have spurts of time throughout the day, like waiting in lines, sitting in our car until school finishes… you name it. So, I’ll quickly share my parents’ creative technique where the messages are told through light-hearted, relatable, super-short stories with a “let’s-be-real” tone.

That’s exactly what I did. While waiting, you can take out your smartphone and within a few minutes be entertained while learning playful ways to deal with everyday parenting frustrations.

Introducing not your typical parenting bookParenting—Let’s Make a Game of It, an Amazon #1 New Release in 7 parenting categories.

Written for busy parents, you can read a standalone, light-hearted chapter in only 5-10 minutes.

Similar to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, the how-to messages are told through enjoyable, anecdotal stories.

Easy to flip through and read by a particular parenting challenge.

Relatable with easy-to-implement playful parenting ideas that also spark your own playfulness.

Check out the glowing 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Yes, I Want It!

(Special Price: eBook only $4.99, Paperback only $8.99)


Read reviews and praises from mommy bloggers, therapists, and parents. Here are a few testimonials:

“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

How do you get your sick child drink liquids? Any helpful tricks? 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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