The 8 tricks to get you through daycare sickness much easier.

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After my four-year-old daughter has just recovered from what is her fourth childcare illness in as little as two months, I'm filled with deep dread. What is "walking" pneumonia? How do you get it? How do I stop her from getting it? How much more can her poor little body take? And it’s not even winter yet! 

Ever since starting daycare a few years ago, it feels like my daughter has been unwell every other week. I’ve been paying high fees for her to contract croup, influenza, COVID-19, conjunctivitis, common colds, croup (again), and who knows what else that she hasn’t been formally tested for. I've had conversations with her centre’s educators when a child has been dropped off clearly not feeling their best self, I have even posted on my local Facebook noticeboard a friendly reminder for parents not to drop their kids off to care sick. (Anonymously, of course.)

All parents want is for their children to be healthy and happy, but when they’re so sick so often, they don’t get the chance to be either of those. If there's one benefit at all, it’s that the steady illnesses flowing in from daycare have taught us a trick or two when it comes to managing it at home.

Here's my handy list of the eight tricks to get you through daycare sickness.

Safeguard the whole family’s immune systems

As the age old saying goes, "It's all about prevention, baby" (something like that), so being prepared for impending sickness is your first defence. 

I can recommend the Nature's Way Triple Immune Support Gummies (different ones for adults and kids), which are designed to support the whole family's healthy immune systems, against illness all year round. 

A healthy immune system is key to helping fight illness so placing a focus on keeping it strong and supported sets you up nicely for what is surely lurking at your next daycare pickup.


Stay on top of immunisations

Vaccinations won’t necessarily stop your kids from getting the flu, but they will help reduce the severity and longevity of the associated symptoms. I think we can all agree that reducing the flu-induced fever, snot and cough can only be a plus.

In Australia, it is recommended that anyone over 6 months old get a flu vaccination to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill with influenza. Your local pharmacy, like Discount Drug Stores, offer the ideal family-friendly mix of convenience and ease to get your flu vaccinations from a qualified pharmacist. Certain vaccinations like the flu vax is also free for people most at risk (like kids over 6 months but under 5 years, pregnant people and those also aged 65 and over). 

Keep a well-stocked kit of supplies

Ensuring you have a kit of cold and flu products at home is always a good idea, and being constantly stocked up with a variety (particularly for pain and fever relief) will be a lifesaver for the whole family. Other supplies to have on hand can include things like chest rub, saline, liquid-based products like cough syrups (and syringes to administer them, which is ideal for little kids!), and humidifier oil, all of which are incredibly practical during bouts of congestion. 

Don't forget the countless boxes of tissues and wet wipes, too. 

Make practising hygiene (somewhat) fun

The number one rule in my house during illness is to spread the love, not the germs. But getting my daycare-aged daughter to wash her hands frequently is a nightmare, especially when she’s grumpy, tired or just feeling really poorly. 


With this in mind, we make washing hands with antibacterial hand wash at home, hand sanitiser in the daycare bag and other hygiene habits feel more fun through games. Her favourite one is the hand washing train, where all four of us ride the imaginary train to the bathroom. One by one, we wash our hands as we depart the train, leaving just her, the train driver, to wash her hands and park the train. Catching coughs in our elbows is another good one.

Communicate with your centre

As much as you might want to blame educators about your child being sick yet again after attending childcare, it doesn’t help anyone, and simply isn't their fault. Trust me, I know. It’s far better to keep the lines of communication friendly and open so you can be across anything circulating in the community and the symptoms you need to be on the lookout for. And this works both ways — let your centre know if your child has something contagious so other parents can be alert and informed too.

Invest in a humidifier

It's changed my life. End of story.

No, but seriously, when my daughter is fussy with a nose as blocked as a stormwater drain after a cyclone, a couple of capfuls of certain oils in the humidifier can truly help calm and ease the situation. Especially when the evening comes, and first on the agenda is to ensure the whole household gets some rest overnight. 

Remember, a vaporiser is not just for nighttime. Consider keeping one in your main living area to help the family throughout the day, too.

Clean, disinfect, clean

Toys, stair railings, countertops... you name it, I disinfect it. Toothbrushes get replaced, bedding gets changed frequently, towels are washed and dried daily. It might sound excessive, but so is trying to care for a whole family of sick people when you’re sick yourself thanks to the easy spread of germs. Surface sprays became our best friend during lockdown so it’s regularly used in our house to quickly disinfect surfaces, bathrooms and toys alike. Just make sure you keep a window open!


Keep them home

There’s nothing worse than knowing that your child’s illness could have probably been avoided if other sick kids were kept at home...

Many kids (or their families at home) have compromised immune systems or chronic health conditions that mean that they are more susceptible to illness than other kids. Sending your little one to childcare sick could have serious consequences for another, so my biggest tip is (and I’m begging you!), please keep your child home if they are unwell. 

Childcare illnesses are the pits, there’s no other way to describe it — but being prepared ensures you are ready to hit the head colds (and everything else!) head on. From one struggling daycare mum to another, I wish you a speedy recovery, every single time.

Check your family's eligibility and book your flu vaccination appointment at your local participating Discount Drug Stores.

This information is general in nature and does not replace the advice of a healthcare professional. As with any vaccination or illness, always seek health and medical advice from a qualified pharmacist or your healthcare professional.

Always read the label and follow the directions for use.

Feature Image: Getty.

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