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Challenge: Sleep Solutions

Hacks to Help Your Kids Sleep When They're Sick

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A few weeks ago both of my kids were sick and nighttime was really rough around here. In the light of day I had a slight resemblance to a zombie from The Walking Dead, and I mumbled something that was supposed to sound like “Will I ever get to sleep again?” but I think it sounded more like “Coffee…. Get me coffee.” But I’m a mom and it’s my job to keep it together at 2 PM or 2 AM. So when my kids are sick and no one in this house is sleeping, I do two things: Call my mom to cry a little and wait for her to give me pep talk—you can do this… you can do this!, and I pull out some life hacks to get everyone feeling better and back to bed.


Coughs and sore throats can keep your little ones up all night so grab some Jell-o, warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds, and add a tablespoon of honey. The gelatin and honey combo will calm their cough and take away throat pain and get them back to sleep. Just remember that honey should only be given to children over the age of one.

During cold season, we go though A LOT of tissues and a long night with a stuffy nose usually means a big mess. Is my dog the only one that LOVES a used tissue? Cut down on the mess and keep kids from jumping in and out of bed all night to blow their nose by taking two tissues boxes, one full and one empty, and wrap a rubber band around both boxes. When your child can grab tissue, blow their nose, and drop the tissue in the empty box. I even attach a small bottle of hand sanitizer for super messy nose blowing.
If you have a kid with tummy trouble, you are in for a long night. Take my “lasagna method” for their beds one step further and do the same for the “sick bucket.” Grab a stack of plastic shopping bags and line the bucket that has the unfortunate job of being the catch-all for sick kids. If they get sick at night, just pull out the top bag and another one is waiting for the next round. This helps keep clean up to a minimum and your little patient can get back to sleep.

For those times the “sick bucket” didn’t catch the mess, carpet cleaner meant for pet stains is great option. If you don’t have any on hand, throwing some baking soda on the mess helps to make clean up easier and vodka is a miracle worker on getting smells of carpets and furniture. If you choose to use that vodka for something else, I won’t judge… just invite me over.

We’re already suffering from Mommy-Brain (am I right?) Here’s two things that help: Grab a marker and create a small chart on the side of medicine bottles for doses and the number of days kids need to take the medicine. Also if you're handing out doses of medicine and need to keep track of the times and doses late at night and during the day, use a dry erase marker on the bathroom mirror to remind you who got what medicine.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate is a Mom’s mantra when you have a sick kid. But getting to the store late at night for those electrolyte drinks isn’t always possible. You can easily make your own:
Mix together

  • 1 quart water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

You can always add a few splashes of juice for flavor and I’ve found that warming the water first helps dissolve the salt and sugar.
To prevent spills in bed, turn any cup into a spill proof sippie by adding press and seal wrap to the lid and sticking a straw in the cup or putting a crazy straw upside down in a cup with a lid.

Painful headaches are absolutely miserable and always worse at night. Comfort your child, soothe their headache, and get them back to sleep by massaging their head and neck with coconut oil and a few drops of peppermint oil. Just be sure to keep it away from their eyes.

A nasty cold and stuffy nose doesn’t have to keep everyone up all night, with a super easy recipe and 20 minutes you can create vapor rub cubes for the shower that will have everyone breathing easy and sleeping in no time.
Here’s how you make them:

  • Mix three tablespoons of vapor rub with one cup of cornstarch
  • Mix together (the vapor rub needs to be mixed really well before it begins to warm up and mix with the corn starch. Just keep stirring!)
  • Add two tablespoons of water. You want a thick paste and can add a few splashes of water at time (not too much) to get the right consistency.
  • Press the paste into an ice cube tray and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes. Store in the freezer or at room temperature in an airtight container.

When you’re ready to use the vapor rub cubes, put one near the drain and turn on the steamy shower. Older kids can stand under the water (you can put the cube in a dish if you’re nervous about a slippery tub floor) and for younger kids, just snuggle with them next to the shower and let them breath in the steam and vapor smell.


Just like the terrible twos, this too shall pass and soon everyone will be healthy and sleeping again. Until then, there’s always Starbucks. Lots of Starbucks.

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