That’s more than I can say of many of my friends though, some of whom seem to spend more time in hospital than they do at home.
Yet despite the stresses of being on the ward 24/7, they never moan, they are always happy and are still always the first to offer help to others.
So, when I asked them for their top tips for spending time on the children’s ward, I was not surprised by how much information they had to offer.
Most blogs will focus on how to make things easier for the kids but here are some little tips and ideas to try and make your next stay on the children’s ward a little more comfortable for you as the parent!
1. Keep hydrated.
This probably seems obvious but keeping hydrated is difficult on a hot children’s ward.
Take your favourite brand of tea or coffee with you and your own mug (because hospital mugs are a bit grim!) but remember that caffeine will dehydrate you so try to alternate each hot drink with a cold glass of water.
2. Stay Healthy
It is important that you eat nutritious meals so you have the energy to look after your child and yourself so try and stock up on some decent quality ready meals to heat up in the parents room microwave (presuming they have one!).
Make sure the meals include some vegetables & buy some fruit to keep you feeling healthy while you’re there as well.
Shops in the hospital can be pricey so try and get to an off-site shop if you can or rope in some friends to do some shopping for you.
You could even ask them to make you some dinners to reheat in the microwave.
3. Get some sleep
This is really important but it can be tricky if the ward is noisy or the nurses are doing regular checks on your child.
Ear plugs will help to block out the noise of snoring patients (or parents) and the constant beeping of machines.
Don’t panic about not being able to hear when the nurses come around, if they need you they will wake you up so take the opportunity to sleep while you can.
The beds on the children’s ward are often narrow and uncomfortable but you can make them a bit easier to tolerate by bringing your own pillow and blanket to help you sleep especially if you are going to be there more than a couple of nights.
4. Get a break
Try and get out of the hospital at least once a day, even just for 10 minutes.
Ask the nurses if anyone can sit with your child for a little while if they can’t be left alone (if the ward is busy this might not be an option), or if a friend is coming to visit maybe they could sit for a while so you can go for a quick breath of fresh air.
If your child is under the care of a children’s hospice, sometimes the nurses will be able to come and sit for a few hours so you can get a break and maybe even go home for a shower.
5. Pick clothes wisely
Sitting next to a hospital bed all day requires comfortable clothes! So, don’t be afraid to ‘slum it’ in comfy joggers and t shirts.
It is always hot on the children’s ward, so you will want short sleeves and thin trousers but do make sure you have layers, and a coat, as it will feel extra cold when you go outside for a walk.
Of course, being on the ward for a long time means it is a bit hard to do any washing but if your friends and family ask if there’s anything you need then ask them to do some washing for you!
It’s also wise to take some comfy shoes, flip flops or even slippers so you can slip them on and off easily.