It’s not fun being sick anytime, but it’s especially difficult if you are a Mom with children at home. It seems the list of things to do never ends and if you take a day to rest, the house will fall apart. However, the bright side is that there are some great life lessons that kids can learn when Mom is sick.
1. They can learn that Moms/adults are human too. Their expectations of us can be extremely high and unrealistic. Sometimes kids look at their parents as superhuman. It’s good to see that Moms can’t do it all so when they are an adult they will know that it’s ok when they need a sick day or “day off” too.
2. They can learn how to do some things for themselves. Depending on their ages, they can practice making their own sandwiches, mac and cheese, and taking care of other basic needs. Maybe you will have enough energy to give instructions on how to do something while they do it. The kids will likely listen to the instructions better than usual because they know it’s the only way they are going to get what they want. This might be toasting some bread and buttering it, or doing their own laundry.
3. They will have a chance to practice compassion and empathy. Kids need to learn empathy for others and what better way to learn than to see their parent in need and hopefully help out in some way. For my 3 year old, this means giving me a hug and asking me if I feel better. It also means cleaning up his own toys and picking up a few things for me as I instruct him. For my 11 year old, this means helping to watch and play with her younger brother. My two teenage daughters will offer to bring me something to eat or drink and they’ll pitch in and do the dishes. They also help a ton with their younger brother.
4. Going hand in hand with practicing compassion and empathy, they can feel the happiness that comes from serving others. This gives them a service opportunity right in their own home. They may or may not take it, but those that do will discover that serving others is a great way to feel better about yourself and to feel happy.
So the next time you have a sick day, try to remember that at least one good thing might come out of it, the kids will get a chance to practice independence, service, and empathy. And if they don’t take you up on the opportunity and destroy the house, there’s always next time! (Hopefully a long, long time from now).