AU PAIR & NANNY HEALTH CARE SERIES
All nannies and au pairs hate it when their charges are feeling bad: cranky, complaining, crying, or whining. It’s annoying when children don’t listen, complain they are sick when they aren’t, or refuse to obey even the simplest routine requests. But, often when children are cranky or complain of having a tummy ache or feeling sick, they are actually overtired or stressed-out.
When a child complains they often want something but don't know how to get it. They aren't mature enough to know how to ask for something or express what is truly bothering them. Caregivers must determine what really ails the child.
HUNGRY: First caregivers must try to determine if the child is tired, hungry, or just wants adult attention. Provide children with healthy snacks and meals at regular times throughout the day. When children are home from school try to feed them on a similar schedule as their school days.
OVERTIRED: More often then not, when kids complain they are sick they are just overtired. Allow them time to nap and down time to read books. An early bedtime is essential for all kids. A pre-school child may need to sleep 10 to 12 hours each day, whereas a school aged child sleeps about 10 hours each day.
OVER-SCHEDULED: Although adults are always well-intentioned children’s schedules often parallel their parent’s busy lives. children need time to relax and play independently. Children become stressed-out with long and demanding school days, sports, and after school activities.
EXPECT TOO MUCH: Another source of stress for children is expecting too much from them. In an attempt to teach kids responsibility, caregivers often expect too much. There's nothing wrong in expecting children to do their best. But when doing their best isn't enough, children often suffer and complain of feeling ill.
INCONSISTENT ROUTINE: Consistency is especially important to children. Most children do not handle change well. Children need to know what to expect and when to expect it. A secure routine can help relieve stress.
SIDE-EFFECTS: Another source of children feeling sick are side effects from medications. For example, some antibiotics may cause diarrhea, decongestants may cause excitability, and antihistamines may cause drowsiness. Caregivers should read medication labels to weigh the risks and benefits before giving children medications.
Whenever children complain they are feeling sick it is important that nannies and au pairs take their complaints seriously. Since children are not mature enough to articulate what is really bothering them, adults must determine what really ails the children in their care. If the child doesn't have a virus, the flu, or a cold, they may be suffering from stress or be overtired. Whatever the cause, it is the caregiver’s responsibility to help solve the problem to help the children under their care.
Do your charges suffer from being stressed-out or being overtired?