Wednesday 8 February 2017

#VicksTricks for Cheering Up Poorly Children

The well-known poem says : February brings the rain, Thaws the frozen lake again. I'd change it this year to February brings the sick bugs then the nasty colds come round again. We're not even half way through the month and I've already been called twice to go and pick up Pierre from school because he was feeling poorly. Our routine is always the same when one of the Madhouse kids is feeling unwell: go and get into pyjamas, bring your duvet and pillow down to make a bed on the settee, get a hot water bottle if they're feeling shivery then rest up all day with an endless supply of DVDs, books and games on the ipad, interspersed with naps.

This is pretty much the same routine that was used when I was a child. My mum would head to the shops and come back with a bottle of Lucozade (in a bottle made from bobbly glass and covered in orange cellophane which I used to spend ages looking through to make the world go yellow !) and a comic. I'd spend all day sipping on Lucozade and eating small amounts of mashed bananas. Mashed bananas are still a popular "sick food" at The Madhouse, as are pieces of toast and sandwiches cut into small shapes with cookie cutters. 

Vicks vapo rub inventor

Vicks have teamed up with BritMums to find out what parents do with their children to make them feel better when they are unwell, as well as discover how their parents soothed and entertained them during cold and flu season when they were young. As soon as I hear the name Vicks, I think of Vicks VapoRub, the ointment that helps relieve congestion, sore throats and coughs due to colds. My gran always had a pot of this on the go and I can remember having a cotton hanky (we didn't really use disposable tissues back then) with Vicks VapoRub smeared on it to help unblock my nose when I blew it and, if I had a cough, Vicks rubbed all over my back and chest when I went to bed. In fact, I'm sure I remember her putting Vicks and brown paper on me at bedtime, but this seemed weird to me - what would the brown paper do? Maybe stop the Vicks from getting on your clothes? Possibly make you sweat ? I went to google "Vicks and brown paper" and discovered a traditional remedy using goose fat and brown paper, so this probably isn't just a figment of my imagination ! These days, most people seem to mention putting VapoRub on the soles of your feet then wearing socks to bed, which sounds less intrusive but is apparently equally effective. My favourite product now, though, is Vicks First Defence, which you spray up your nose at the first sign of a cold and it stops it taking hold. I've used this several times over the winter, whenever I've started sniffling or sneezing, and each time, the cold didn't develop.

Family Psychologist Corinne Sweet highlights that “one of the most powerful antidotes to sickness developing further, is parental care and concern.” She advises that “listening to a story or watching a film is a good idea, as it is soothing and promotes laughter (an immune booster). But don’t let them play video games, watch scary films or spend hours on screens. This will keep their minds over-stimulated, when their immune systems need gentler stimulation and rest.” Vicks strongly believe that traditional love, fun & laughter are the key to comfort your children when they aren’t feeling themselves, which is why they have developed a series of sharable #VicksTricks magic videos that are simple, easy and great fun to replicate. We've been enjoying watching them, and they certainly put a smile on Pierre's face, even when he was feeling poorly.

This is my favourite because you can do it just before preparing a mashed banana.

And this is Pierre's favourite because he managed to fool his dad with it !

You can find more #VicksTricks over on their Youtube channel.

Disclosure : This post is an entry for the #VicksTricks campaign.


  1. Vicks has certainly stood the test of time. Commenting for myself and on behalf of BritMums and thanking you for taking part.

  2. I didn't know Vicks VapoRub has such a long history. Mashed bananas? Never heard of it as part of the getting better routine. My Mum used to put mustard powder in socks to wear in bed when we had colds, I didn't like that at all. :)

    1. Ooh I'd never heard of that one but I have a tub of mustard powder on the shelf that I never know what to do with so maybe I should give it a go ! I think mashed bananas are just easy to eat/digest and slip down easily without hurting a sore throat !

  3. Brown paper did used to be really popular. I can only think that it was to keep everything apart. The brown paper is waxed and would stop it getting onto your clothes and bedding - obviously back a while, washing, drying and replacing your bedding was a much bigger nightmare than now :D

    1. That makes sense - I remember it making a crackly noise whenever I rolled over !


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