Healing Sick Kids

Read about being a mother of 12 as our resident 'Supermom' shares her wise parenting advice.

I often think that the mother of an ill child suffers more than the patient. At least, I know that my anguish during any illness experienced by one of my 12 children is almost too great to bear. I think that this maternal empathy serves a mother well, as it encourages her to find ways to ease her child's pain, and therefore, her own.

Moms have magic

Even when your child is only sick with a minor virus, and the disease has only to take its natural course, there are things you can do to make your child feel better. And I'm not just talking fever and pain medication. Moms have magic at their disposal and can convince a child that her very touch is healing, without him having to exercise much imagination.

The trick, I think, is to display a lot of confidence as you do these little mother tricks to make him feel better. If you think it helps your child, he will be convinced that it really does work. The truth is that most of what you do for him at this time makes him more comfortable and that translates to feeling better soon. So, even though we know that rubbing menthol ointment on a tight chest doesn't really ease a child's breathing, the medicinal smell, and the warmth of your hand on his chest is soothing, and can help him fall asleep (nature's best medicine).

Plumping up the pillows and straightening the covers can make a fractious child drift off to dreamland. He likes to watch you as you care for him with a mother's competence, and just the sound you make as you go about your sickroom duties can bring a great deal of consolation to the ill child. If he's feverish, cool compresses on his forehead or a sponge bath feel wonderful and bring relief within minutes.

The healing power of chicken soup is a proven phenomenon.

A cup of his favorite herbal tea, with an ice cube to chill it to a child-safe temperature is a great restorative, and served with honey and/or lemon, most soothing for sore throats. His favorite soup is also a great way to push fluids and benefit a sore throat. It's a good idea to keep small containers of homemade chicken soup in the freezer at the ready for bouts of illness. You can nuke them in the microwave for comfort in a flash. The healing power of chicken soup is a proven phenomenon.

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