Ages & Stages

Preparing for a Sick Toddler

October 27

This is Day 27 of the 31 Days to a Better Life: Living Life on Purpose series.  {Subscribe here.}  You can find all of the posts here.

You’re up with a sick toddler.  You’ve only had about an hour’s sleep.  You have to be at work by 8 a.m.  This is never an easy situation.  You must decide on whether or not you’re staying home with the little one.  You must also get through the day on very little sleep fulfilling responsibilities of work or caring for the toddler.  Either way, it’ll be a long day.

Preparing for a Sick Toddler

Preparing for a Sick Toddler

You must do two things to prepare for a sick toddler.  You never know when the day hits, so it doesn’t hurt to prepare ahead of time or maybe you’re the person I just described with the day in your face.  

First, Decide Who Stays Home With Your Sick Toddler

You have two decisions.  Stay home with him or leave him with someone while you work. This is a decision you (and your spouse) may wish to discuss ahead of time, so that you’re not operating on 2 hours sleep when the day of arrives.

If you decide to take off work.

Don’t feel guilty about missing work. If you are fortunate enough to have sick or personal days, use them. This is your child, who will only be little for a short while. Cherish those times you are able to snuggle with and comfort him.

If you decide to go to work.

If you are not able to take off work to care for your sick toddler, do not feel guilty about it. There are sufficient reasons why you may not be able to stay home with your sick toddler.

  • Your daycare provider may not keep an ill child.  Be sure to have someone who can watch him on days like these.  Maybe your spouse could take a sick day and stay home with the little one.
  • Your employer may not provide sick or personal days. You’d lose out on pay and you can’t afford to miss a day’s wages.
  • You have a deadline that won’t be met if you do miss work. Be sure to evaluate this one carefully, as you may still be able to meet it and care for your little one.

Whatever you decide, I stress again, do not feel guilty. Motherhood comes with so many difficult decisions. Make your decision, be confident in it and move forward. Don’t second guess yourself or feel like you have to give an answer to anyone for the decision you custom-fit for your situation.

Second, Prepare a Sick Day Activity Bag for Your Toddler

Have a sick day activity bag ready for your sick toddler.  He or she probably needs to sleep more than anything, but there will be times during the day that boredom will present itself.  You can put some quiet activities in the bag to keep your child’s mind off how he feels.  I wouldn’t put too much in the bag or you may just overwhelm your sick toddler.

Activities for Your Sick Toddler Activity Bag

  • Crayons and a coloring book
  • A book or two, maybe one about being sick
  • A special movie
  • Bubbles
  • A Small soft blanket or teddy bear to cuddle with

  • Do not put this one in your bag, but I’d have some Pedialyte Freezer Pops hidden away in the freezer for your sick toddler on days like this.  Your sick toddler may not feel like eating or drinking.  These will help prevent dehydration for a short time.
  • You can find several activities to add to your sick day activity bag online.


Whatever you decide in preparing for your sick toddler’s sick day, do not feel guilty or second guess yourself.  Continue on with your day knowing that you love your sick toddler more than anyone else in this world could ever attempt.



  • Reply
    Stefanie @
    October 27 at 7:26 pm

    I don’t have children but these are fabulous ideas! Pinning for any friends who may be in this position 🙂 Always great to prepare, and of course it helps your little one get quickly back their life 🙂

  • Reply
    October 27 at 8:34 pm

    Great tips! I have 2 little ones who are sick right now so I’ll be putting these tips to use this week. I like the bubbles idea and love those Bear books. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      November 1 at 8:52 pm

      @Karen ~ I sure hope your kiddos are feeling better today. I love the extra cuddles but sure feel helpless when they’re sick.

  • Reply
    Deb Wolf
    October 28 at 10:42 am

    Great tips Tami! My kiddos are grown, but I still remember those days. Planning in advance is one of the best things you can do. Decisions are too hard when you’re sleep deprived and being pulled in a thousand directions. God’s blessings as you momma your littles.

    • Reply
      November 1 at 8:47 pm

      @Deb ~ Two of my kiddos are almost grown (16 and 17). Our little one was a surprise, but he’s worth every ounce of sleep deprivation.

  • Reply
    Alisha H.
    November 20 at 7:47 pm

    I have a two year old and she gets sick a few times a year. Mostly she wants to be held, but when she doesn’t I try to find some activities for her. Thanks for the ideas.

  • Reply
    November 20 at 9:11 pm

    The sick day activity bag is such a good idea! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Corina Ramos
    November 21 at 5:39 pm

    It’s always good to be prepared for emergencies like this. I’m long passed the toddler days but I have a 2 year old and 7 month old grandson. Definitely passing this along!

    Have a great weekend!

    • Reply
      November 23 at 6:03 am

      Oh, grandkids! My youngest almost feels like a grandkiddo. He was so unexpected and having a child when you’re much older is truly a different experience.

  • Reply
    Joely Smith
    November 26 at 5:20 pm

    Aweee sick little ones – so sad – as mothers we feel so helpless – what a great post to help moms! My kiddos are young adults now and I do not have grand babies yet but thankfully we now have people like you sharing great ideas to help moms through these trying times.

  • Reply
    susan quackenbush
    November 26 at 6:21 pm

    I love the idea of a sick activity bag!

  • Reply
    November 27 at 10:08 am

    I don’t have any kids, but these are great tips for any parent!

  • Reply
    Angie Bailey (Precisely Mine)
    November 28 at 3:51 am

    My son is almost 15 and luckily he has never been too sick where I’ve had to take off work to care for him. His dad is usually able to be home with him in case he needs anything.

  • Reply
    November 29 at 11:52 am

    Aww, my kids have been getting sick often which is weird since they eat well. But, colds and other bugs seem to rotate often in their school.

  • Reply
    November 30 at 2:52 pm

    When my little guy is sick we usually cuddle up on the couch and watch frozen. I make him rice, because it is his favorite food and settles easy if he is having tummy issues. I have found that reading his favorite books always help too.

  • Reply
    31 Days To A Better Life! Steps For Living Life On Purpose - Happy Wife, Happy Life
    April 20 at 10:00 am

    […] Day 27: Preparing For A Sick Toddler […]

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