Normally, I am a pretty ‘together’ person.
But the moment I notice that one of my children has a fever I almost go into meltdown. My heart starts thumping, a wave of heat passes through me and I feel the need to deep breathe. If it is three in the morning, multiple this feeling by 10.
Obviously all of this isn’t helping my poor sick child.
So, what do I do?
I do my best to appear calm in an attempt to soothe them – and occasionally it works (fake it till you make it, right?) but I’m sure they’re picking up on my anxiety and it is the last thing they need when they’re feeling unwell.
And it turns out that I’m far from alone in feeling like this.
In a recent Global Survey, Children’s Panadol surveyed 2150 parents and the results were probably not too surprising.
When asked what causes them anxiety about their children the number one response was ‘when they are sick’, with fevers and temperatures the cause of the majority of this anxiety.
And according to leading Child Psychologist Kimberly O’Brien children pick up on their parents’ stress levels quite easily.
“Children are likely to vicariously experience stress when their parents are stressed,” she says.
“Even a change in facial expression or voice tone between parents may trigger stress responses in children, such as excessive crying, separation anxiety and withdrawal.
“One of the most important things for parents is to have a plan in place, in case your child wakes with a temperature at three in the morning. Having tools in place to keep parents calm makes a big difference to sick children.”
Dr O’Brien has the following tips to manage your anxiety when your child is sick.
5 tips for managing your anxiety when your child is sick
- Make a plan – have a plan in place to eliminate indecision
- Know your tools – know what you can use (medication, favourite blanket, toy etc)
- Empathise – try to see things from your child’s perspective
- Do familiar things – try to keep some normality and family routines in place
- Call on your support networks – share the load in caring for your sick child. Even if it is just a phone call to a trusted family member for a vent!
So what has all this got to do with that cute-y bear in the picture? Well, his name is Buddy Bear and he has been developed to help parents comfort their child when they’re unwell. Buddy can take some of the pressure off anxious parents when a child needs soothing. He can also be your go-to tool to help distract a little person when it is time to take some medicine.
You can personalise your Buddy Bear video so he calls your child by name and sings them their favourite nursery rhyme. They’ll love to hear their own name and see their own face. And you’ll love the few moments it gives you – to collect your thoughts, take a few deep breathes and calm yourself down so you can get on with the business of comforting and soothing your child.
This blog post is sponsored by Children’s Panadol.
If you would like to set up a personalised video for your child, head over to Buddybear.com.au. Have it ready for the next time you need to soothe your little one when they’re unwell