Entertaining my Children When We're Under the Weather // #VicksTricks Challenge

This month, I signed up to take part in the BritMums #VicksTricks challenge sponsored by Vicks. This challenge is all about finding out what tricks we use to make our children feel better when they are unwell... Sadly we have been suffering with a mixture of snuffles, runny noses, and coughs over the last few weeks - so this post could not be any more pertinent right now!


Prevention is obviously the best course of action, but sometimes (especially when your child goes to nursery and is surrounded by other children!) the inevitable happens, and germs come into your home. I have made a short video to coincide with this post, and both will give you a little insight into how we deal with the times when one or all of us are under the weather!

Welcoming a new baby into our home has meant making a fair few adjustments to our lives; and it has certainly been made more challenging by the fact that just two weeks after our new baby joined us, our household came down with the first of a series of colds. Cracking out the Vicks First Defence has helped my hubby avoid getting ill, but I kept forgetting to use it! (I'm claiming baby brain!)

Since that first dreaded snuffle, we have been plagued by everything from chest infections to the hacking cough - and to top it all off, my eldest daughter managed to break her arm just days into the new year! 

Now we all know the easiest way to avoid things getting any worse, is to stay inside. Being in the warm, avoid the cold air (that is an inevitable part of British winter) and getting some rest is key to getting back to full health.

Research shows that half of parents agree with me - rest is super important when it comes to getting your children on the road to recovery. However, it's not always practical. This is especially true when you have a toddler like mine. She is always on the go - even when she is coughing or has snot running down her face.

I prefer to let nature take its course rather than pump my children full of medicines, unless it's absolutely necessary. This means that when we're all feeling under the weather and are stuck in doors, I have to get creative with ways to keep us entertained.  Rather than sticking to the same things every day, I try to make sure I mix it up when it comes to our daily itinerary; to stop us from going stir-crazy. 

Some of the favourite moments during the past few weeks were when we got a few of the outfits out of the dressing up box that my mum put together for the girls at Christmas. It was a pretty awesome gift - containing a selection of matching outfits from Supergirl to Minnie Mouse.

The smiles and laughter from my toddler were infectious. Despite being full of cold - and my constant need to mop up her runny nose - she managed to find seemingly endless amounts of energy! I'm pretty sure this is purely because she was having so much fun, she forgot she had a cold. 

She loved that her baby sister was involved too. Picking out which outfits they were going to wear and prancing about in them was super exciting for her. As always, Little L only had eyes for her big sister, and spent the entire time smiling and cooing as she watched Squidgy dancing around the room.

I have, on occasion, found that the easiest way to keep my toddler entertained is to simply let her get on with things... As she is now over two (which is the minimum age to use it), I am able to pop a little Vicks Vapour Rub onto her chest, which helps to keep her airways clear. After that, she just cracks on!

She is definitely not short of things to do around the house. She is blessed with a wide variety of toys; from Duplo and Playmobil to her role play kitchen.

One of her favourite pass times is to make her baby sister and mama "food". When she knows that I haven't been feeling well - even if she is not 100% herself -  she constantly wants to help me feel better. She often tells me that she is making soup in her kitchen, which she has learnt is my go-to food when I have a cold!

One of the worst parts of having the so called, 'hacking cough', has been the lack of sleep. You may think that this seems a little silly, after all I have a newborn baby so my sleep is broken up anyway. However this is the exact reason that I need to be able to get some rest in between feeding my baby girl.

Also, I am a light sleeper. Even when I have managed to drift off, the sound of my eldest daughter's coughs easily wake me up; despite being in a different room. Add to this the dark circles under her eyes, and the whole situation is super hard for me as a mama - I just want to make it better

Then I found out about a secret trick for alleviating the cough, by using Vicks Vapour Rub.

Popping a bit of the Vicks Vapour Rub onto our feet, rubbing it in and pulling a pair of socks over the top is a surprising remedy to stop the coughing. When I read about it being a way to press pause on that irritating coughing, I have to admit that I was slightly dubious. However I cannot recommend it enough - it actually works!

Whether I'm ill or not, I love to read. I always have, and even if I am coughing and spluttering I try to make sure I still read to my girls as part of our bedtime routine.

It would appear I passed on my enjoyment for books to my daughter. She loves to "read" (usually just telling the story from memory!) to her baby sister, and when she is not feeling well, she will bring me a book so we can all snuggle down for story time - regardless of the time of day.

We are not alone. Approximately 27% of parents use reading to their children as a form of entertainment when they are unwell.

This fabulous book, "The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep"ย  that we were sent in our #VicksTricks challenge pack, is fabulous. Little L falls asleep to the sound of my voice regardless of the book I'm reading, but often R will listen to the end. This story, with it's instructions of changing intonation and volume actually managed to send her off to sleep too! Complete winner in my book (pun totallyย  intended!)

I'm not going to lie though. As much as I love to crack out the craft stuff - or read a few books - sometimes (especially when I too am under the weather) - I don't have the energy to get up and do things to entertain my girls. In those moments, I am amongst the 75% of parents that will use technology to entertain their children.

Moments like these, I will sometimes put on a DVD. As well as reading, another love affair of mine that I have passed on to my toddler is that of Disney - so popping on one of the old classics is good for both of us. Other times, I will let her use my iPad. On it there is a variety of apps that she enjoys to play on - from nursery rhymes to puzzles - but she is also partial to popping on the Sky Kids app and watching a bit of Paw Patrol, Dora the Explorer or Go, Diego, Go. I try to avoid letting her watch Peppa Pig - but let's be honest, most children these days love that little pink piggy!

Vicks have teamed up with magician Katherine Mills to create some magic trick videos of tricks which you can watch her do, as well as learn to recreate. These can be found on their YouTube channel here.

The one below was my toddler's favourite... Now all that's left is to buy some bananas so that I can recreate it for her! In the mean time I let her watch the clip and simply turn it off before the explanation of how it's done comes on!

Despite all attempts to entertain Squidgy when she is unwell, there are times when she just needs me to hug her; after all, when we aren't feeling well most of us simply want our mama. When that is the case, I make sure she knows I am there for her, and that I am always there to give her a snuggle.

I have found that when my toddler is occupied - whether she is crafting, playing, watching TV, or simply snuggling up with mama - she tends to forget about the fact she is not feeling very well. If I am constantly mollycoddling her, and making a fuss about the fact that she is ill, she plays up to the fact that I am doing so - and is usually more cranky!

Ultimately, you have to do what you think is best - and what works for one family may not work for another. I think that the most important way to help our children on the road to recovery - and keep our lives as parents as easy as possible while they get there - is to keep life as normal as possible.


Disclaimer: This post was written as an entry to the BritMums #VicksTricks Challenge, sponsored by Vicks. I was sent a small selection of items to use as fun things to do with my daughter while writing the post for this challenge. 

Facts and statistics were taken from the information sheet provided in the challenge pack, and the video was also included within the pack, and is part of a series of shareable #VicksTricks magic videos that Vicks have created.

The post words and opinions are my own and the photos are the property of Me Becoming Mum and are not to be used or re posted without prior permission being granted.