It’s that time of year again…pretty leaves, apple picking, pumpkin carving (or painting if you’re not too trustworthy with a knife..ahem..me..), cool breezes, sweatshirts, fire pits, runny noses, coughing, boogies, sneezing, crying…wait a minute…who’s raining on my fall parade?? Oh yeah, cold and flu season…that sneaky punk…

Adults just want to sleep until the cold is gone, unfortunately, most kids aren’t wired that way. They need to sleep, but feel too bad, or their nose is too stuffy, or they keep coughing, or something prevents them from the sleep they desperately need to feel better. And, this is keeping you awake and dropping your defenses of getting that nasty cold that really is inevitable because your sleeve has become a kleenex.

What’s a parent to do?

I’ve got a couple tried and true tricks up my sleeve that have helped my little ones in the past. Hope they help you too!

An oldie but a goodie. If your little one is over a year and shows no sign of allergy to it, a teaspoon of honey (either straight up or mixed in some tea) should calm those coughs for a little bit. It’s not an allnighter fix, but good for a nap.

There is nothing worse than that awful dry tickly cough in the back of your throat when you’re trying to sleep! Humidifiers do a great job of getting enough moisture in the air to soothe that tickle. Get one with a little spot to throw in some Vicks stuff and it’s a double whammy! I know there’s some debate over cool mist or warm mist. We use a steam vaporizer and it helps keep the room warm and does a great job of soothing coughs. As long as you clean it on a regular basis, you’re good to go.

Hyland’s Cough Medicines
If you’re little one is over 2 and honey is just not cutting it. Give Hyland’s a shot. It’s all natural and works pretty darn well. There are a couple different kinds offered: Cough Syrup with Honey and Cold and Cough. I found that the Cold and Cough version actually worked better than the Cough Syrup and my son liked the taste of it better too (go figure). There is also a Nighttime version. I was able to snag a free one a couple months back but haven’t tried it yet. I’m pretty sure I’ll be trying it out on my son tonight though!

Vick’s Vaporub….on the bottom of their feet!
Say what, crazy lady? Yeah, sure, you can put it on their chest and back like the bottle says to. But, next time, throw some on the bottom of their feet too, just for kicks and giggles (remember to put socks on over it so it doesn’t rub off on their sheets). I was super skeptical of this at first. Last year my son had a nasty cough and none of the above remedies were helping him at night. He was just non stop coughing all night…he would sleep through it, but not so much me. (I was suddenly aware of why my mom would wake me in the middle of the night and shove Robitussin down my throat…to this day I can’t stand anything cherry flavored…I think I’m traumatized…)…anyway, my sister mentioned putting the Vicks on his feet and I rolled my eyes and laughed. But, after hanging up the phone, in my desperation and sleep deprivation…I Googled. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of people saying how it really truly does work. So, I said, What the Hay, there’s no harm in tryin! This is now my favorite method for soothing a cough!! It’s simple and easy and lasts for HOURS!

Prop them up with an extra pillow
My oldest has a nasty cough and I tried all of the above for 2 nights in a row with little success. My husband has always been after me to prop him up with an extra pillow but we have never needed to. This time around though I was desperate, the poor kid was just having horrible coughing fits. So, I creeped in, propped him up with an extra pillow (he was so sound asleep he didn’t even wake up) and I swear to you, he did not cough once the rest of the night!

Hopefully a couple of these tricks will work for you in helping your little one (and you!) get some sleep this coming cold season.

Happy Fall!!