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Jane Roper

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Jane Roper is the author of the memoir Double Time: How I Survived–and Mostly Thrived–Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins and blogger at Her writing has appeared on Babble, Salon, The Huffington Post, The Rumpus, and the upcoming anthology The Push: Birth Stories for the 21st Century. Jane lives in the Boston area with her husband and twin daughters.

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Home Remedies For 5 Common Preschooler Ailments

By Jane Roper |

One of the many roles of the parent (and in our household it tends to be specifically the mother, that is, me) is healer. So when children have illnesses or boo-boos or non-specific ennui, it falls to us to make it all better.

By observing the most common afflictions in our family, I can offer up the following protocols for diagnosing and treating typical ailments in the three-to-five-year-old set. This does not constitute professional medical advice. Please consult your pediatrician for specific recommendations.

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Home Remedies For 5 Common Preschooler Ailments

The Imaginary Cold

Symptoms: Forced coughing, calculatingly worried expressions (possibly with the hint of a smile) accompanied by phrases you have recently said while having a (real) virus of your own or while commenting on a (real) virus of theirs in the past, such as: “I’m afraid I’m a little sick,” and “I think I’m a little warm.” Requests that you feel their forehead or use the “themom-a-tah” to take their temperature. Impassioned pleas for medicine.

Suggested treatments: Check temperature. Ignore. If complaints persist, tell them that they’d better get into bed and get some rest. Or tell them we’d better go to the doctor. (Note: this last technique effective only in children with fear of going to the doctor. Counter-indicated in children who relish drama, and love the idea of having to be fussed over.)

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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Anything you other expert healers out there would like to add to the body of amateur little kid  medical advice?


DOUBLE TIME, my memoir of parenting twins and battling depression (among other things) is available for pre-order! Order before May 8, and I’ll send you a free signed bookplate. Click for details.

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About Jane Roper


Jane Roper

Jane Roper is the author of the memoir Double Time: How I Survived–and Mostly Thrived–Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins and blogger at Jane lives in the Boston area with her husband and twin daughters.

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7 thoughts on “Home Remedies For 5 Common Preschooler Ailments

  1. Margot says:

    My favorite: they request an ice-pack for something that would actually require a Band-Aid, but then request a Band-Aid for something that should require an ice pack! Scrape = Band-Aid. Bonk = Ice pack. My 4 year old has these simple equations absolutely backwards! I tend to administer whatever is requested even if it makes no logical sense. We buy Band-Aids in giant value packs from CostCo now!

  2. Mira says:

    I love it. Here’s one more: The Impending Growth Spurt (aka “growf spurt” or “gross spurt”). Symptoms: Increasingly anxious, high pitched threats that “if I don’t get something to eat RIGHT NOW, I am going to have a GROWTH SPURT.” Treatment: Offer highly unpalatable, potentially poisonous foods, e.g., rice, lettuce, string beans. In case of specification (“no, this is a JUICE GROWTH SPURT!”), parents may develop Selective Hearing.

  3. Holly says:

    Coby (5) always (hysterically sobbing) begs for Band-Aids for the no-blood scrapes. For Sean (almost 3), if he falls and gets scraped and is crying (no matter how tiny or big the scrape is), the best way to stop the crying and make him better is to ask if he needs a Band-Aid. He’ll immediately stop, whimper, “I’m okay,” and go back to his play.

  4. Isabelle says:

    Every time my son goes through a growth spurt he needs to report every single growing pain he feels. We’ll go through a week of many reports each day of various specific body parts hurting. The best remedy seems to be rubbing what ever hurts and then checking back 30 seconds later to see if the pain is still there–and it never is ;-)

  5. Lucy's Mom says:

    I can’t say enough good about boo-boo kisses. They SOOO work. They so do.

    This is all a Band-Aid does, half the time. OK, a cool Band-Aid is also a good and fun distraction, but when push comes to shove, moms have the ultimate and supreme power.

    - How do I know this about the power of the boo-boo kiss?
    - How can we test this in a Scientifically Proven environment?

    Have your kid give YOU a boo-boo kiss sometime, and see how fast it works!

  6. Sara says:

    My daughter’s counselor recommended dream catchers for nightmares. It’s amazing how much better she slept immediately after I bought a dream catcher for her room. You can’t argue with science…;-)

  7. April says:

    ha! our boys pull the “I had a bad dream” thing like 4 minutes after us putting them to bed. I am glad to know ours are not the only ones that try to pull that one!

    I guess they remember the sympathy I gave them the few times they actually did get woke up by bad dreams and try to milk it. I just yell at them to get back in bed. Heck lately if they are not crying or upset I just yell at them to go back to bed even if they have been asleep because I just want to get back to sleep.

    Mine don’t fake colds or tummyaches or whatever yet. They fake sleepyness to get out of cleaning the toys up sometimes.

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