By John Lough
Special to The PREVIEW
Ah, ‘tis the season for many households to find themselves with one or more children suffering from a cold or the flu. Damp, chilly weather and all that contact with other sniffling children at school almost guarantees that winter illness will strike most homes.
Most of us are well aware of the medical steps to help our child get better, or at least feel better, but we sometimes forget there are emotional things we can do to help our child, too. That can be important because our kids often feel bad about feeling bad. Have your kids ever apologized for being ill, saying, “Mom, I’m sorry I’m sick.”
So, how to help? Start with a smile. If you’re looking worried and concerned when approaching your ill child, he or she is going to begin worrying about why you look so worried.
Instead of asking, “How are you feeling?” when it’s already clear that he or she is not feeling well, try to offer something positive. Tell your child that he or she is looking a little better or has gotten some of that color back or seems a little cooler. Be assuring that you’re doing your job to help the return to good health.
One of the best medicines for a sick child, regardless of age, is being generous with your hugs and cuddles. While it can be tempting to plop him or her in front of that TV and just check in occasionally, offering physical contact that encourages positive feelings of safety brings better results.
Instead of TV time, trying snuggling with your child while reading a story or playing a game. If there is to be some TV time, spend at least part of it with him or her, holding hands while watching together.
There’s no question that our minds have the power to affect our health. Talk with your child about imagining feeling better and you might find it can actually help him or her feel that way.
You also want to listen to your child. Encourage him or her to talk about what’s being felt. If it’s something as simple as a tummy ache, you may find the cause to be the stress of the day, not an illness.
None of us ever wants our child not feeling well, but a loving, supportive parent, encouraging a positive attitude, can often make a child feel better faster.
“Counseling Corner” is provided by the American Counseling Association (ACA). Send your comments and questions to ACAcorner@counseling.org or visit the ACA website at www.counseling.org.
Using love to help a sick child feel better
By John Lough