Brenna Hicks

Your medicine cabinet is stocked with acetaminophen, throat lozenges and saline spray for your little one's next cold. While that can help with symptoms, they don't do much to comfort and soothe -- that's our job!

To help your child feel comfortable as she recovers, I recommend a few smart parenting strategies. Here are a few of my must-have items to keep your little one content and comfortable through the worst of cold and flu season.

1. Activities

Rest is key, so it's helpful to have options on hand to keep them occupied while in bed or on the couch. Have them read, draw, color, make a craft or watch movies. I like to keep some new books and movies tucked away for sick days. To make the day as fun as possible, you can also spread out blankets on the floor or set up a tent in the family room.

2. Popsicles

To ease the ache of a sore throat, whip up a batch of popsicles with your own mold. Let your child pick out their favorite 100 percent fruit juice flavor. Not only will the chilliness soothe the pain, but the treat will also deliver some much-needed vitamins and minerals.

3. Fun foods and utensils

When they're sick, most kids don't have much of an appetite or can't keep much in their bellies. But what kid likes to eat plain, bland food? My parenting strategy: Give them something to smile about by serving them in fun dishes, or using a crazy straw in their smoothie or soup. Consider using food coloring to make a smiley-face in their applesauce; get creative!

4. Touch

Research shows that touch can rev up the immune system, according to a study in The Journal of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. And that may help speed up your little one's healing process.

To give your child physical contact and affection -- without exposing yourself to germs -- write on her back. While you spell out letters with your fingers, have her guess the letters or spell the words. When I was a kid, this was my favorite sick-day ritual. Write out special sayings to comfort your child like, "feel better" and "I love you."


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Health - Your Cold and Flu Season Survival Kit

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