Surviving Sickness with Tablecloths, Jello, Lightbulbs & Sugar

It seems sickness comes in phases. Last year the kids were never sick (or if they were it was something like pink-eye that didn’t slow them down a bit). This year it seems we are battling every bug out there. Here are some of the survival tips we have come up with to help us survive the tummy-flu.   Please share your tips in the comments – My preschoolers and I need them!

tips for surviving with sick kids

Vinyl Tablecloth.

These are terrific! The fabric backing on the back makes this “tarp” not slide when you cover your couch or a bed with the tablecloth, but the easy-to-clean vinyl surface means that you can wipe and disinfect with bleach and a paper towel. No more scrubbing the couch!


I am not referring to those nifty cubes that are great snacks for a sickly child. We use jello powder to help solidify diarrhea. Mix a teaspoon or so of jello powder into applesauce and it helps congeal poo. Jello powder does not cure diarrhea, but for a young diapered child, it does help contain it!


We got a couple of the ionizer lightbulbs from Purely Products right before Christmas. They seem to come at the worst best times.   A virus is making its way through the house again.   Purely Products offers nightlight air purifiers as well as UV-germ-killing lightbulbs.     As we put the nightlight in after the virus arrived we can’t attest to its germ-fighting qualities, but I have been very impressed with how quickly it can deodorize a sick room!


Surviving tummy flu

Spoonful of Sugar.

Having problems getting your kids to take their meds or even to drink, anything, at all?   Kid Kupz created a flavored rim cup to help convince our kids to take the meds.   While the bugs going through our house have been viral and we haven’t gotten meds to combat them, I have used the cups to make drinking fun for sick kids.   It is so important to keep fluids up with the tummy bug comes to town – this may not be the original intent of this product, but it works for us!


Viatmin D.

This is why I haven’t gotten sick yet, in spite of the fact that this is the third time one of the quirky kids has caught something!   I love this stuff… now if only it would keep the kids from contracting every bug this year!


Any tips that your family has on how to avoid, survive or combat illness in your family?   I’d love to hear them – maybe they’ll help us next time a bug comes to call!


  1. Ugh! It’s like you were reading my mind. We’ve been dealing with a stomach bug since last Thursday. I wish I had thought about the vinyl tablecloth!!! Currently two of my couch cushions are on the front porch. I can’t bare the smell and I don’t want to clean them! Sometimes being “mommy” is so hard 🙂

    Great ideas!

  2. Wow!! The Jello trick is absolute pure genius!!! And I am definitely going to look into those bulbs. We cannot deal with another sick bout here either! Yuck! Feel better!!

  3. Great tips! Thanks for sharing. I hope your family feels better soon. 🙁

  4. I use half a chewable vitamin c, herbal cough drops, homemade elderberry syrup, and cold care type teas when we get sick. If the little one risks getting dehydrated I go for the coconut water instead of things like gatorade. I also start having a lot of soups or broths and add things like carrots, ginger, honey, and garlic to our foods. I also completely cut dairy from our diets until it passes. We have a small supply of shelf stable almond or other milk on hand in the winter.

    When she was small and would get congested I would boil a pot of water, set it on a pot holder, and lay it under her crib to help her get to sleep. I’m also a big fan of infant vaporub.

  5. We have seen so many friends come down wtih sickness within the last 2 months, but thank goodness we have not had any sickness in the family in the past 12 months. I don’t think we do anyting special, except for one thing. My youngest son INSISTS on using the wipes in the front of every store we enter and he cleans the shopping cart. I really think that has made a differece, especially when I see and think about all of those shoppers who put their germs in one way or another on the shopping cart.

  6. Great tips. I’m another fan of the vinyl tablecloths. Now that it’s winter- I use them for when the kids come in from playing in the snow- keeps the piles of wet boots, coats, etc. off my wooden floors.

  7. Fantastic list! I never would have imagined the Jello! And the tablecloth idea is great for the bed!

  8. This is genius! Just got one kid thru the stomach bug without disaster, but I just know the little one is going to be a disaster. Table cloths and jello coming out NOW!

  9. Love the tablecloth idea!! My 3 and 1 year old girls have had TWO stomach viruses since October. Also my first as a mommy so I was a stomach bug rookie. My biggest tip is keep a huge stack of towels on hand. I mistakenly tried to get them to throw up into a bucket which did not go well LOL. Instead I held out a towel and they were useful for “catching” it. Needless to say I did tons of loads of towels ingot water in the washer but it worked and saved our carpets!

  10. *in hot water in the washer

  11. I’m sorry you guys have been under the weather! It was three years ago that our family was sick for six months straight! I remember it well. I hope you guys are all on the mend soon!

  12. Very useful tips.I wish I knew about using the table cloth.It really is hard when the kids get sick.Thanks for sharing this.

  13. Thanks Rachel!

    I love the vinyl table cloth idea. We’ve been very fortunate our little hasn’t been sick much but we’ll definitely use the material to line the couch if the need arises.

  14. I love the vinyl table cloth idea! I’m going to buy a few of those to prepare for the upcoming flu season!!

    When I was little, my mom gave me an old pot, one of those 6qt ones to throw up in. Sometimes the bathroom is too far away and buckets are too tall.

  15. That Vinyl cloth tip was the best but that is not to say the rest were not especially the Jello tip to contain the poo inside the diaper. When I encounter helpful tips, I’d be glad to share them here.

  16. I have found a small plastic trash can works well for little ones who need to puke, but can’t make it to the bathroom. I keep my kids thermos full of ice water so it is easy for them to get lots of fluids. Steam humidifier with vapo steam is my favorite for congestion.

  17. Hannah Stephens says:

    My 2 year old had a tummy bug not too long ago and being a tummy bug newbie I was terrified. My mom had suggested the table cloth idea to me and about the bract (bananas, rice, apple sauce, carrots and dry toast) diet for three days to help with the diarrhea. She also suggested to keep his spirits up to buy him new pajamas which worked to help keep him a little happier!

  18. When my kids are sick I take a laundry basket and put a trash bag in it for them to throw up in. It is a bigger target than a trash can so its easier for little kids.

  19. My 5 year old girl is sick today – I had her take a nice warm bath to try and get her to sweat out her fever but she was not very happy at even the idea of a bath. So I made it a special fairy bath with purple color (there’s multiple products you can buy to color the bath water and this served two purposes, one she loves to have a color bath and two it covered up the ground ginger I sprinkled in which is a natural anti-inflammatory that increases blood circulation and helps promote the elimination of toxins through sweat but makes the water a bit murky but didn’t show with the purple) then I sprinkled in some glitter and fake rose petals. Then I got out her play tea party stuff and put some real peppermint tea in it and had small triangles of toast for “fairy cakes.” We had our tea party and I read her a book about fairies. It made it so she stayed in a good long while and sweat out some of those bugs inside. A sweat bath doesn’t always break a fever but it can help a lot.

  20. When in doubt, rub coconut oil on em (bottom of the feet with socks) Detox baths with Epsom salt, helps too. Onions, garlic and ginger are great immune boosters and at least one of them makes it into every meal. Keeping a healthy diet helps a lot to prevent infections. Having a special cup for water encourages little ones to keep hydrated-I mix watered down juice and sprite-my daughter thinks she’s getting to drink soda. We do a movie marathon, I’ll have to do the tablecloth idea, next time-hopefully a long time from now. Get better soon kids!

  21. Silver biotics. For real.

  22. I just have a comment about the jello. If your child has diarrhea, the Dr. told me not to use any thing red (jello,kool aid,, gatorade,/etc.) because it actually has a stool loosener in the red coloring. Hope you have a better week with the kids.

  23. I put vaporub on my daughters feet them put socks on to help fight coughing. Also there’s a goodnight grape tea made for kids that’s caffeine free, it helps with a sore throat (I always add a touch of honey to help with sleeplessness)

  24. Our kids go outside a lot. A great way to get that ever-sought after Vit D!

    Also, they tend to consume small quantities of dirt, as they’re either throwing it at one another, or making pretend-food and then (kind of) pretending to eat it. This also helps incur a natural immunity to any bacteria that are local to our area, as well as tetanus!

    Sugar is a fantastic way to help keep your kids sick, since bacteria tend to thrive on it!
    I would rather use a naturally occurring sugar, such as that found in oranges, bananas, pomegranates, grapes, etc., to entice my children to *take their medicine* – which just happens to ALSO be the fruits and veggies they ingest, either by eating or (more often, especially when ill) drinking (if you have a juicer; if not, let me just say – this is the easy way to go!!)

    Kids should be given every effort to have a healthy life, even when they are ill.
    Meds from the store are NOT always the answer.

  25. Stephanie says:

    For my 11 month old who generally doesn’t drink juice, we’re still nursing, I mix 1/4-1/3 natural juice (juicy juice or apple & eve) w spring water to keep him hydrated and his electrolytes up instead of a Gatorade or Pedialyte. Adding a good splash of juice creates the same balance of electrolytes at a fraction of the sugar and the cost.

  26. Wow would have never thought to cover a couch or bed with a vinyl tablecloth. makes sense to be able to wipe away germs.
    Thanks for the share.

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