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Spoiling a sick child

I'm curious... when you have a sick kid, how do you treat your suffering two year old? I'm asking because, up until now, I've never really had to come up with a parenting strategy for when my kids are "sick", and up until this week, I didn't know I would need to come up with one either.

Here's my situation:

Alex, my 2.5 year old daughter, caught the virus-du-jour, which was actually pretty nasty. It starts off with a 3-5 day very high fever, accompanied with any or all of congestion, headache, sore throat, and upset stomach. Hers presented as a 4.5-day high fever and serious congestion.

I know when kids are sick, their ability to cope goes down the tube, so I've been pretty lenient with her. Partly because I feel sorry for her and I want her to feel better, and if she gets some solace out of watching Baby Einstein on repeat 5 times in a row cuddled up next to me on the couch, then why not, and part of it is because it keeps the whining at bay and it makes it easier for me to cope with having a sick 2-year old while caring for my newborn. Consequently, soo-soo (her soother) has been present during the day (it's normally only allowed at night); she's been allowed to eat whatever she wants whenever she wants (because she just wasn't eating, so if she ate anything at all I was happy); and basically she's been allowed to do things she's not normally allowed to do, because she's sick.

Well guess what, today she was feeling better... finally! And surprise surprise, when she was denied some of the previous "special treats" she'd been getting on a regular basis this last week, she had huge temper-tantrums and melt-downs. It's going to take me days to get her retrained, and until then, she's going to act like an awful spoiled brat.

So I'm wondering where did I go wrong exactly? (Rhetorical question for those of you about to list off the ways.) I've employed this technique before with no harmful reaction - no retraining required... but this illness lasted longer than most, and I think that's the problem. But either way, I'm wondering if I was way too lenient with her while she was sick.

So my question to you guys... what do you let your children do/get away with when they're sick? Everything? Nothing? And have you ever had behavioural challenges post-sickness?


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 21st, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)
My method of coping with a sick child would involve duct tape and a flag pole.

So yeah, I'm probably not qualified to answer this. But if I had to guess, I'd say what you did was reasonable, you just have work through the retraining. I'd say try reasoning with her, but reasoning with a two year old never seems to go well. Why? Because they don't understand the concept. Why? Because they're too young. Why? ?!? Why? Go get the duct tape. Why? ...
Oct. 21st, 2008 01:10 pm (UTC)
Oct. 21st, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC)
Heh, I'm sure you'd come up with another way to deal with it when they looked at you with those sad little eyes ;)

I think I've come to the conclusion that I need to make it less of a drastic difference between say, a sick day and a regular day, and I need to have more of a gradual change between these two types of days. I think that will eventually result in fewer tantrums.
Oct. 22nd, 2008 02:23 am (UTC)
I give my boy what ever he wants when he's sick.
He lays his head on my shoulder and just keeps saying (in his sick voice) "mom mom mom mom "
and he points to fruit cups...he gets fruit cups.
at least he just wants to eat fruit loops and fruit cups.
nothing outragious
Oct. 22nd, 2008 03:34 am (UTC)
I remember when Alex used to just do that. I kinda miss those days :/

She's moved on to a different set of behaviours now, that aren't quite as nice to deal with.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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