the art and science of taking care
Health | Beauty | Fitness | Nutrition

7 Ways Kids Can Help When Their Siblings Have a Cold 


Learn how to encourage kindness while warding off germs.

Photo of child

You’ve probably been in this boat before: One of your kids comes down with a cold or a cough, andtheir sibling wants to help take care of them. It’s such a sweet gesture and, of course, you want to encourage kindness, but you also don’t want your healthy child getting sick, too! One ill kid is enough to handle.

Not to mention: Germs can be spread so easily, whether it’s by direct contact (high fives, hugs, kisses) or indirect contact (sharing cups or touching a doorknob that a sick person touched and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth). If your sick kid is sneezing or coughing, droplets with germs in them can be sprayed as far as six feet!

Luckily, there are plenty of ways that a healthy sibling can help a sick sibling without getting too close. Check out these creative ideas, below.

Put Together an In-bed Activity Kit

Since your sick child may need to stay home from school and could be stuck in bed resting for a while, ask their siblings to gather some quiet, low-energy activities that can be done while sitting. This collection might include a coloring book and crayons, other craft supplies, a sticker book, finger or hand puppets, building bricks, books, temporary tattoos, play dough (if you don’t mind a little mess), and a bell so your sick child can ring it when they need something.

mother and son in kitchen

Help You Cook Soup

Nothing soothes a sick kid—or grownup—quite like chicken noodle soup. So ask your healthy child if they’d like to help you whip up a batch. Older kids can help you chop carrots and celery, while younger kids can add ingredients to the pot and stir it. Don’t forget to play some fun music while you cook and pause for the occasional kitchen dance party.

Break Out Walkie Talkies

You want your kids to bond, but you don’t want them playing right next to each other and breathing the same germy air. To make staying apart more exciting, grab a pair of walkie talkies and let them have conversations from one room to another. They can even play talking games together, like 20 Questions, or tell stories. Over and out!

Make Bathtime Better

A warm bath is soothing anytime, but especially so when you’re sick. Have your healthy child make the bath extra-special for their sick sibling. They can fill the tub with bubbles, write cheery messages with bathtub crayons, or read to them from a safe distance while they’re in the tub.

child feeding dog

Help Out With Chores

Maybe your sick child normally empties the wastebaskets, puts food in the dog’s dish, or cleans up the playroom. This is the perfect opportunity to ask your healthy child to take on some additional chores until your sick child recovers. And if your healthy child whines about it, remind them thatthey’ll appreciate this rule when they get sick in the future!

Make a Cup of Tea

Depending on how old your healthy child is, she may at the very least be able to pick out a cheery mug, plop in a tea bag, and pour in honey and/or milk. An older kid might be responsible enough to fill a kettle with water, safely heat it on the stove, and pour the hot water into a mug. And while they’re at it…

Get Crafty

Ask your healthy kid to use their artistic skills to make your sick kid a get-well card. Get some markers, glitter, tape, a glue stick, scissors, and magazines for fun photos—and then let them createa masterpiece sure to make anyone feel better.