Toddler tempest and the teacher.
My toddler has been battling the flu this week – something not uncommon to many moms this season. It has been all out bouts of sleepless nights, medicine maintenance, and lots of TLC. As a mother I want to provide the best care to help my child get back to health and happiness, yet in this storm of sickness I cannot deny its toll on me. I am not only doing my normal mother duties, but now have the added effort of being nursemaid to a growing human who does not understand the waves of illness, nor the manner in which to simply “ride out” the pain. Such lessons come through experience, empathy from others, and teaching – things which a toddler has in limited reference.
During his growing years I am his teacher through this tempest: I must show him how to work through sickness, appreciate his caregivers, build patience through his healing process, and manage his health. It is a tricky balance to learn our bodies have their limitations, and yet can heal itself through good self care. I do not always get it right (and am not naive enough to think these are the steps for other grave illnesses).
Here’s what has helped my son be a better patient and me be a better teacher during flu season:
Talk with your child, in advance, about how medicines are going to taste and react to/in them. They deserve to know the positive or negative effects of the medicine they are taking.
Find ways they can relate
Identify things in their world that are stable and predictable like the sun rising and setting every day. They need to mark their process of getting better through nature’s clock, not their limited reference of “now”.
Communication and feedback
Ask them to say “thank you” and “that makes me feel better”; or, “that doesn’t help me feel better”, “could you help me with…”. They need to help themselves alongside their caregivers with communication and feedback, not fits.
Find an escape
This flu season is a doozy! I recommend any Mom in this storm take a moment and pat yourself on the back. Plus, find a bit of respite in your role. Yesterday, I took my son to the beach as he was finally past the fever stage. The salt air is a natural remedy for clogged sinuses, and there were only four people down by the shore for miles – so we could stay well away from others. It did a world of good for me, and for his spirits. I highly recommend you get approval from a medical doctor, but from my boat as Dr. Mom, it’s worth it to teach your toddler how to be a good patient early in life; and, that a mini beach escape for the day helps momma be a great nursemaid.
Guest Post Author: Karen Cowden is a single mother-by choice to her sweet and gregarious toddler and works as a Professor of Reading, Education, Developmental Reading and Writing, and English as a Second Language at Valencia College. She loves living in Orlando/Winter Park and experiencing water, cultural, and edible events. Most of all she loves beach retreats with her buddies and her boy.