The Sneaky Mum’s Guide to Rehydrating a Sick Child

Miss 5 was home sick with gastro today. Poor thing – it’s so horrible to see your little ones lying their all limp and pale.

The doctor told me she was too dehydrated. This girl is a camel – it’s hard enough getting her to drink water when she’s well, let alone when she’s got a tummy bug. And she hates the taste of those hydralyte ice blocks. So I realised I was going to have to get a bit more creative than just giving her a bottle of water to sip on throughout the day.


Jelly is a great hidden fluid for sick kids.  Pic from tmab2003

I stocked up on a few essentials on my way home.

  • Premade jelly snacks
  • Jelly crystals
  • Lemonade ice blocks
  • Lemonade
  • Bendy straws
  • Juice boxes of Nudie apple juice

The pre-made pots of jelly and the lemonade ice blocks were my first course of action. Even though she loves jelly I still had to sit and spoonfeed it to her, but at least that was about a cup of liquid that managed to go down. It would have taken me half a day to get her to drink that much from her water bottle.

Next up was a lemonade ice block. She made it through half of this before conking out under her doona on the couch. Perfect time to get the jelly going and pour a glass of lemonade to leave on the bench to go flat.

When she woke up she was presented with a Tupperware sippy cup with a straw sticking out of the hole. It looked pretty fun.

“Take a sip, and tell him it’s water,” I nodded in Mr 4’s direction. Her bleary eyes looked up at me as she tasted it and realised it was lemonade. This is forbidden nectar in our house, where kids really only drink milk, water and the occasional watered-down juice.

It must have seemed strange, to have mum pushing the forbidden lemonade on her while Mr 4 didn’t even realize that this secret treat was going on. Not only was I letting her have lemonade, I was actively goading her into drinking it! “Have another sip honey. No, I mean a big sip.” Plus, having a treat that her brother wasn’t allowed made it even more illicit, and seemed to make her drink more.

I let the kids watch a movie for a while and then handed around the juice boxes. This one took a little longer for her to get through, but she polished off half of it before admitting defeat. After the movie it was time for another lemonade ice block.

I think that between all these weapons in the mummy arsenal, we must have made it close to getting a litre of liquid into her little body, and after another nap she’s even perked up a little. Tomorrow we’ll bring out the big guns – homemade frog-in-a-pond and chicken noodle soup. Fingers crossed she’ll be back at school by Friday.


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