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Home Remedies For 5 Common Preschooler Ailments

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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  • The Imaginary Cold 1 of 5
    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
  • The Pretend Belly Ache 2 of 5
    The Pretend Belly Ache
    Symptoms: Periodic complaints of a belly ache, inability to pinpoint location of ache, no accompanying changes in appetite or bowels, calculatingly worried expressions (see "imaginary cold," previously).

    Suggested treatment: Tell them they'd better not eat anything. Especially fruit or yogurt, cheese or other dairy products. (Which may, in some preschoolers, represent a significant portion of diet.) And/or tell them they'd better get into bed and get some rest. Either usually yields instantaneous results.

    Photo credit: stock.xchng
  • The Very Small, Non-Bleeding, Possibly Invisible Flesh Wound 3 of 5
    The Very Small, Non-Bleeding, Possibly Invisible Flesh Wound
    Symptoms: Complaints of a boo-boo sustained as a result of a fall, stubbed toe, mild bonk on the head/knee/shoulder/wherever, or other minor accident, accompanied by requests for Band-Aids. Or, complaints (also with request for Band-aids) as a result of a teeny, tiny little red dot (usually on fingers or toes) that may or may not be some kind of little nick that is mostly healed over anyway. In either case, blood not present.

    Recommended treatment: During waking hours, none. Tell them they're fine. Offer ice / a damp washcloth if complaints persist. During the middle of the night: Administer Band-Aid.

    Photo credit: Flickr
  • Repeated fake nightmares 4 of 5
    Repeated fake nightmares
    Symptoms: Whining declarations, several times in the course of one night, that "I had a scary dream" (sometimes beginning within mere moments of the child having been put to bed) followed by dramatic pleas for back rubs and/or being allowed to sleep in your bed. When asked what the dream is about, reply is typically either "I don't mah-member" or "it was about a scary monster." Fake nightmares can be distinguished from the real kind by lack of any convincing distress.

    Recommended treatment: At first instance, administer perfunctory back rub or allow child to sleep in your bed until they begin kicking. At second instance, follow treatment above, but only after sighing heavily and saying, "really?" Upon third instance, insert earplugs.

    Photo credit: Flickr
  • The professed bad mood 5 of 5
    The professed bad mood
    Symptoms: Complaints of feeling "frustrated but I don't know why," or "needing some space," or, simply, "I'm in a bad mood!" Sulking, pouting and whining. Refusal (more than usual) to get out of pajamas.

    Recommended treatment: Apply hugs, sympathy, extra patience, and assurances that they'll feel better soon. Suggest playing quietly on their own, resting or reading books. Tell them that you know how they feel. The same thing happens to you sometimes. And it's no fun.

    Photo credit: Flickr

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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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