Courtney Rupertus
Out and about with kids…when you’re sick

The only real constant that you can plan for in parenthood is for your best laid plans to change.

Whether it’s due to an unexpected fever and a trip to the clinic, or your toddler magically sleeps in only to be terribly grouchy, sometimes the best approach is one of fluidity or going with the flow, a motto I subscribe to now more than ever.

I write this because with a week stacked full of fun outings, things to get done, and people to see, both of my children and I ended up sick with a dreadful cough/cold. And I’m sure we are not the only family feeling the same ill effects of the remnants of the winter cold season either.

Something I’ve learned in the short half year that I’ve had two children is that even the smallest, most trivial outing (to you) can actually turn your child’s whole day around!

In contrast, I’ve also learned to watch for signs like unusual crankiness or uncooperativeness that tell me maybe we’ve had too busy of a week and give myself permission to “slack off” when needed.

Of course, if we are really sick, we don’t leave the house, but when you’ve all got a case of the sniffles, there are only so many animated movies and naps you can take before you need a hit of fresh air and sunshine.

We also tend to keep to ourselves during these times to try to limit how many people or other children may end up sick because of us. That means we avoid playgroups, play dates, coffee shop or brewery dates, and no trips to the library or swimming pool.

I also like to limit strenuous activities at this time so we can all let our bodies rest and recover from being sick.

So, here’s how we survive without our usual activities, and still get out and about when we are all feeling under the weather:

Find new places to go on a quick walking tour. When we’re sick, the double stroller becomes our new best friend as we try to head out the door for some fresh air. Rather than doing our usual walk close to home, I try to seek out new places to explore to keep things fresh and as adventuresome as possible.

This works best for us particularly because our baby can stay in the stroller and have a good fresh air nap (particularly awesome for when they are stuffed up and restless), while our toddler can burn off excess energy and retreat to the stroller when needed. I had to learn the hard way how much it can suck to be stuck on a walk while baby wearing and then your toddler gets too tired to walk back.

Out and about with kids…when you’re sick
Courtney Rupertus photos

This method also applies to when you’ve just had a baby. No one wants to be dragging their toddler back to the car while carrying their newborn in a sling. So even when I chose to wear the baby versus stroller him, I still brought the stroller along with us, even if it just held snacks and drinks.

My other suggestion would be do anything you can to make it ‘fun’ for you too. Bring a coffee or hot tea along to sip and savour. Wear your snow pants and mitts so you can play along with your child.

In between moments of play, I like to take the time to focus on my breath and do some stretches. Some would call this sno-ga or snow yoga! Practice being a tree blowing in the wind, a polar bear stretching out on an iceberg, or a playful puppy having a nice long stretch out. You and your kids will love how you feel, even if you’re sick, after some gentle activity.