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10 Playful Parenting 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?

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!”

Of course! Whenever I didn’t want to do something, my parents turned the challenge into a game. Whatever I was resisting became a playful activity.

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.

Related Post: The Secret and 46 Tips on How to Be a Playful, Positive Parent.

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.

Want to Make Parenting Easier?

Parenting is rewarding, but it’s also stressful, especially when your child doesn’t cooperate.

Here’s a secret for turning around these frustrating moments.

Create a playful game.

You’ll be amazed at the results.

Toddlers, school-age children, and even headstrong kids will cooperate—willingly!

I want to share this playful approach since it helped me as a stressed-out single parent.

It can help you too.

You’ll have more fun as a parent. You’ll empower your kids. And you’ll spend more quality time with your family.

Parents are busy and many don’t have time to read, that’s why I wrote an entertaining, easy-to-read book, Parenting—Let’s Make a Game of It. The light-hearted chapters are super short, and each one only takes 5-10 minutes.

Want a sneak peek? Go ahead and read a sample chapter. In a few minutes, you’ll gain new insights… and have a few laughs.

And the best news, you save with the Summer Special (only $4.99 for the eBook and $8.99 for the paperback). It’s as delicious as avocado toast but costs less… and the benefits last a lot longer.


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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