Coping with a Toddler when Poorly

As a Mum, you always want to do the best you can for your little one/s. This can be made more difficult if you suffer from an illness or disorder. Unfortunately over the past two years, I have been in and out of hospital and this, for me, has been reality. Chronic pain is no fun and even more so with a toddler.

So, how do I deal with it? With great difficulty is the honest answer. Alex is my world and I try my hardest to keep everything as normal as possible. When Alex was a little bit younger, it was easier to distract him from what was going on, but these days, it’s a lot more difficult and here are my tips on how to deal with illness and your toddler.

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1. Talk to them about what’s wrong. Toddlers might be young, but they’re certainly not stupid. This was made clear to me when I was trying to distract Alex from what was really going on with something else. He turned to me and told me to ‘sit down, because you’re poorly, mummy!’. As you can imagine, I was quite taken back by my two year old telling me what to do, but he was right!

Since explaining to Alex that Mummy has a poorly kidney and sometimes it makes Mummy feel sore and sick, he’s in a better position to act appropriately around me. When he knows I’m sore, he’s a lot gentler around me and won’t bounce or jump on me. In a strange way, it’s helped him to notice and adjust his behaviour to other people and situations accordingly. For example, when he was playing with a timid little girl, he was really quiet and gentle with her, asking her lots of questions so they could play together. I thought it was super cute.

2. If away or in hospital, maintain as much contact as possible. When your little one is away from you, they are likely to get upset and wonder where mummy (or daddy) is. So keep in touch as much as possible. When in hospital, I’m usually there for about a week, so I try to Skype Alex every morning and if they’ve not been in to see me, I’ll call or Skype before their bed.

3. Always reassure them. Everything is so black and white to toddlers, so make sure they know you’ll be home soon. I actually had a perfect example of this today. I went to the hospital to see the specialist and before I went, I told him that I would be home and not to worry. They kept me waiting almost an hour and so my Dad had taken him to nursery. Alex was very emotional according to my Dad, so on my way home, I stopped by the nursery, just to reassure him I would be there to pick him up and that they didn’t keep me in hospital. He responded so well to that and it really hit home how much he appreciates the reassurance.

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Overall, the key thing is just being honest and reassuring your child. Alex tends to play up if he’s not sure of what’s going on. Especially if his nanny or grandad are looking after him. In our house, we always try to have one of us here, so if I’m in hospital then my husband will work from home. Obviously not everyone can do this, but if this is available to you, I highly recommend you go with that as opposed to an outside person as it keeps a constant.