In my parenting journey, I’m constantly trying to come up with new and creative parenting hacks to everyday challenges.
If mild sickness strikes, there is fear around routine vaccinations, or we’re struggling with emotional meltdowns, here are a few creative parenting hacks that help me and my family.
Please keep in mind, none of the ideas in this post are a substitute for medical care. And always check with your pediatrician if you have questions/concerns!
I found these delicious, organic throat soothing suckers called Lolleez as an alternative to cough drops. I love that they are flat, soothe sore throats, and taste great!
One of my kids gets recurring croup and it’s so nice to have a safe cough drop option that he loves when his throat is super sore.
Always carefully monitor your kid with a sucker to prevent choking (or you can cut them up into smaller pieces).
Up the Fluid Intake
Getting sick kids to drink water (instead of just juice) is a perpetual challenge.
Think outside of a cup!
Did you know that the little medicine syringes for Tylenol or Motrin are infinitely more fun for kids to drink out of than a regular glass of water?
When my toddler is sick and refuses to drink liquids, I fill a medicine syringe up a dozen or so times and she magically drinks the “fun” water.
Yes, you have to do it a lot to add up to anything meaningful. But hey, when you have a kid with a fever who won’t drink water and you’re desperate, it works!
The little medicine cup for a little bigger kids is also more fun to drink out of than a regular glass too. Who knew?!
I keep these syringes/cups and medicine out of reach from little hands so there’s never any confusion about what is being administered.
While technically not water, I also brew warm herbal teas for my kids when they are sick.
Lemon balm, hibiscus, chamomile, and blueberry fruity tea are their favorites.
Served in real mugs makes them more fun and special. Of course, double check with your pediatrician to make sure this option is safe for your kids, especially if they have allergies.
Healthier Treats for Sick Kids
When all else fails, try a treat!
Healthy or sick, kiddos love popsicles. Our favorite brand is GoodPop. They have a ton of delicious flavors, have healthier ingredients, and are dairy free and safe for my kiddo with food allergies. The company also partners with many nonprofit organizations to spread good!
I love them so much, I even made GoodPop inspired nature chalk art. Plus, you can make fun popsicle stick crafts with all the leftover sticks!
My kids often lose their appetite when sick so I also like to make a smoothie to encourage a bit of nutrition! We love making a Unicorn Milkshake, the Barefoot Carrot Smoothie, or a Banana Cream Pie Milkshake!
Vaccinations and Blood Work
When it comes to un-fun reality of early childhood, vaccinations and blood work, our saving grace has been Buzzy.
This device combines an ice pack with a cute vibrating bee to help block pain from injections and distract.
After a few epic vaccination meltdowns with my oldest, we started using Buzzy. I’m happy to report that injections are now tear free. He feels so much more brave and confident about doctor visits too!
The medical staff at our pediatrician and the children’s hospital have all been really interested and amazed at how well it works.
If you have a particularly sensitive kiddo when it comes to shots or are facing medical challenges that involve more frequent blood labs, I highly recommend Buzzy!
Little kids have big feelings and it’s not always easy to know how to help them feel and process their emotions. (To be honest, as an adult, I don’t always have that piece figured out either.)
Calm Down Kit
But something that has worked really well for us is using a Calm Down Kit. A Calm Down Kit is basically a small bin or basket with a variety of tools and items that can support a kid (or adult) who is having a hard time.
When the kids start fighting, someone is throwing a fit, or just having a hard day, the Calm Down Kit helps settle emotions.
Here’s what we have in ours…
- Kids Rescue Remedy! This is my number one, all time favorite tool. Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic flower essence that supports stress and big emotions. The Kids formula is alcohol free, tastes great, and works wonders. When a meltdown or on the floor tantrum happens, a few drops really works
- A sensory bottle with glitter, glue water, and food coloring. When you shake or turn the bottle it creates a mesmerizing experience that helps soothe. (I love this personally if I’m feeling overwhelmed by a meltdown)
- A pop fidget, great for an instant gratification physical sensation
- Calming room and body spray. My sister made us a beautiful blend of lavender and other essential oils. It is magic!
- A jar of play-d0h as another option for squishing and hands on play
- A mini crank music box for a calming auditory experience
- A spinning light toy that also vibrates.
- Jumpy frog toy
- A deck of meditation cards
I keep everything in a little cloth basket in the playroom and grab it whenever someone is headed toward an emotional meltdown.
We also love this sweet book called Breathe like a Bear. It has some wonderful breathing exercises for kids (and adults).
Our favorite exercise in the book is called Hot Chocolate. Pretend you are holding a warm mug of cocoa and have to blow on it to cool it off. We’ve used it at night to help calm down before bed and other times when we need to settle and calm.
But all of the exercises in the book are great and the illustrations darling too. I highly recommend it!
Creative Parenting Extends Beyond Art and Activities
I’m always amazed at the creativity and ingenuity parents use to support their kids. I hope you learned a new idea to help you and your little ones. And I’d love to hear some of your favorite creative parenting hacks!