The last few days I've been feeling as though as I've been running on adrenaline. A lot of the general population suffer from this at bedtime but fellow ME sufferers will understand the 'tired but wired' feeling that we get during the day too. Work has also been extremely busy which has meant a few early starts to ensure I get everything finished. That's always the downside of working part time...
Earlier in the week I was struggling a bit to keep my little boy busy and it reminded me that I had started writing a list of useful tips at the beginning of the year that I had never got round to finishing. Here's some ideas for looking after little ones when you are unwell. I would be interested to hear feedback on what I've suggested.
During pregnancy, labour and the baby stage: check out http://www.mecfsparents.org.uk/articles.html
For toddlers/ older children:
- Have a small supply of child friendly ready meals for days when it is too difficult to cook.
- When you are cooking, make more and freeze the extras
- Pasta is a good option, just needs heating and you can add frozen/tinned veg.
- If you can, encourage children to eat fruit whole so that it doesn't need lots of prep i.e. cutting up apples or try and prep fruit and veg at a time when you can manage and pop in the fridge for later.
- Try and have a good routine - bedtime, meal times etc as this can help with sleep patterns and behaviour.
- If it is easier, then do bath-time in the mornings or at a time when you feel able to manage. (Bathtime is sometimes an easy way to play and keep children occupied as you can sit next to the bath while they splash around).
- Ask friends who have kids/ grandparents/ other relatives if they can take your children to play at their house for a while
- Have a reward chart for helping i.e. staying in bed, putting clothes in the washing basket, getting dressed etc
- If you have the finances, then some time at nursery may help you to rest. Also ensure that they are signed up for a funded pre school place so they can attend their local learning centre for a few hours once they turn three.
- Classes that they can participate on their own like a gym class or swimming can give you 45 minutes or so to sit and rest.
- Playgroups may also be helpful but there is usually a requirement that you supervise for a session every few weeks so you need to bare that in mind.
- Try and keep on top with the housework when you are feeling a bit better i.e. washing etc. so that if you have a bad spell, there are still clean clothes for everyone to wear!
- Get in touch with social services, they may be able to set up a carer or offer some support with childcare. However this does sometimes involve payment.
- Sticker books and reading can be done while laying on the sofa.
- When doing painting have a messy mat which you can roll out and roll away and then there is little clearing up to do...also good for things like play doh, where you can sit and watch and talk about it without having to do too much
- Have a good stock of child friendly films and if need be, have a tv in your room or take a laptop with headphones so that they can watch while you rest
- Don't be afraid to have a few iphone/iPad apps. If you can make them educational then you will feel less guilty and you can restrict the time doing it.
- Make cakes but buy the kits which require little help from an adult.
- Find a good indoor soft play centre, so that they can run off steam and you can watch or read or just sit down. It is sometimes better to have another child or parent and child with you so they can occupy each other as otherwise you may find yourself drawn into the softplay...
- When they are school age, there may be a YMCA or good holiday club they can attend for a few hours a day.
- Have things like Lego and puzzles where you can lay on the sofa while they sit on the floor and play and you can then talk to them about what they are doing.
- Have different colour coded boxes with activities/ toys in them for days when you have more energy than others i.e. green day could have more interactive/ energetic activities in it than say a red day. Children then begin to understand your limitations for that day.
- If you have a garden then let the children play outside with their toys while you sit on a chair and keep an eye on them (on cold days wrap up warm!)