Sometimes circumstances force a family to slow down.

Like the flu.

If your family is forced to stay home thanks to H1N1 or some other flu bug, this may be your chance to live a temporarily less-frenzied life.

Here are some ideas for you to experiment with on the days you’re stuck at home:

  • Set out a puzzle and encourage everyone to place a few pieces throughout the day.
  • Start a read-aloud book.
  • Have tea time mid-morning or in the afternoon. Take tea, water (or a drink with electrolytes) to the sick ones along with a simple little snack. Take it on a tray and it’ll seem rather fancy, even if the snack is just toast with jam.
  • Bake some whole grain bread or a casserole that smells nourishing and comforting.
  • If those who are feeling sick can come to the table for dinner, spiff things up with a tablecloth and candles. Just because someone’s sick doesn’t mean dinner can’t be special. (If mom or dad are the sick ones, ask an older sibling to set the table nicely. My 8- and 11-year-olds enjoy this task and take it seriously, making place cards and adding a little centerpiece.)
  • Turn on soft music to create a soothing ambiance both for dinner and all day.
  • Get a classic film from the library to watch together—they’re so much slower paced than recent films.
  • Or … enjoy doing nothing. Sometimes the best thing for a frenzied family to do when forced to slow down is just rest and relax.
  • Go to bed early without watching the late-night news.
  • After running a lukewarm bath to cool down the sick ones, scrub down the tub and draw some nice, warm water (toss in some bath salts) for the primary caregiver to ease him or herself into it.
  • If you’re staying up with a feverish child, spend some of those hours in prayer.

If you find yourself forced into a slow-down situation, make the most of it.

And get well soon!

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