Advice Column, Health, Lifestyle

16 Best Home Remedies For Sick Children

  • Elize Swanepoel
  • Category Advice Column, Health, Lifestyle

Today’s post covers a few helpful home remedies for sick children. When my son gets sick, it’s always challenging and worrisome. For serious illnesses, the best road to recovery is taking your child to your family physician. However, for various commonplace childhood ailments, there are different home remedies that you can try. You can also use these home remedies in conjunction with doctor-prescribed medicine to speed up recovery and alleviate some of the discomforts your little one is experiencing.


Parents often forget the most important element of getting better – fluids. Kids (and adults alike) need to stay hydrated when their bodies are combating illness. Children experience fluid loss when they run a fever or have a stomach bug that causes diarrhoea and/or vomiting. Offer plenty of fluids like diluted fruit juice or water, even if he takes small sips throughout the day, to help keep him hydrated.

Plenty of Rest

When your child is asleep, his body is working hard to help him recover from illness. Ensure your child gets plenty of rest in a comfortable and quiet space that promotes peaceful sleep.

Steam Therapy

Steam therapy can offer welcome relief when your child is having respiratory issues due to having the flu or a cold. You can use a cool mist humidifier in his room to relieve congestion, or you can run a hot shower and let him inhale the steam for about 10-15 minutes.

Vicks Vaporub

I grew up with my parents always having Vicks Vaporub in our home, and now I use it to help my son feel better. I rub it into his chest and underneath his feet before bedtime to help him breathe easier during the night.


Honey is an effective home remedy for cough in children over one year old. It thins the mucus and is a natural cough suppressant. Mix one teaspoon of honey in herbal tea or warm water to help calm his coughing and soothe a sore throat. My neighbour uses a homemade recipe of one teaspoon of Aspen Borstol cough remedy and one teaspoon of honey mixed in half a glass of water. She swears by this recipe; it is the only cough remedy she used for her children and now her grandchildren.


Ginger is the go-to remedy for upset stomach and vomiting. It is a natural anti-nausea home remedy. Not many children like the taste of ginger, but you can add a touch of honey to make it sweeter and more palatable. Make ginger tea by adding fresh ginger slices to hot water and allow it to simmer before draining the tea and adding the honey.

Warm Compress

A warm, damp cloth helps ease the pain associated with stiff muscles, ear pain, or stomach aches. Apply it to the affected area and remove it after 10-15 minutes. A warm bottle also works wonders for a sore tummy; just ensure the water is not too hot. I don’t boil the kettle completely. However, sometimes the water is still a bit too hot, so I add some cold water until it’s at the right temperature.

Chicken Soup / Broth

There’s a reason why grandma’s homemade chicken soup always makes you feel better instantly. Not only is it comforting, but it actually helps with alleviating cold and flu symptoms. The warmth of the soup clears indigestion and soothes a sore throat, while the soup itself keeps them hydrated.

Saline Nasal Drops

Saline nasal drops can be used for babies and small children who can’t blow their noses effectively. A few drops can be gently applied in the nostrils to loosen stubborn mucus.


When your child struggles to breathe and has a nasty cough, you can raise his head to relieve the symptoms caused by illnesses like pneumonia and bronchitis. Create a slight incline by using an extra pillow.

Saltwater Gargle

When I was a child and frequented the doctor’s office with tonsillitis symptoms, he one day recommended that I gargle with salt water as soon as my throat started hurting. Since then, I’ve used this remedy often, which always seems to offer relief for sore throat symptoms within a day. A saltwater gargle can also do wonders for soothing a sore throat in children. Mix half a teaspoon in a glass of lukewarm water and let him gargle with it a few times throughout the day.

Aloe Vera

There is a good reason why Aloe vera is used in so many commercial cosmetic products and skin lotions. It offers relief from sunburn and can also be used for skin irritation, minor burns, and insect bites. Aloe vera gel is a common household remedy because of its active compounds that help reduce inflammation and pain on the skin.


Probiotics boost the immune system and encourage digestive health. You can implement a probiotic-rich diet with foods like plain yogurt or buy child-friendly probiotic supplements at your local pharmacy.

Oatmeal Bath

Oatmeal is an excellent remedy for irritated and itchy skin linked to chicken pox or rashes. Grind the oatmeal into a fine powder and add it to your child’s bath water. Let him soak in the bath for 15-20 minutes.

Comfort Items

No one likes to be sick, especially children. Never undervalue the effectiveness of comfort items like a favourite blankie, stuffed animal, or children’s book. These items can offer emotional support and make them feel more secure until life returns to normal for them again.

Affection and Lots of Cuddles

Above all else, your love and attention can significantly affect the healing process. There is no such thing as too many cuddles in my book, as it reassures them that you are them for them to provide comfort while they’re not feeling well.

Final Thoughts

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my post about the best home remedies for sick children. Taking care of our little ones when they are sick can be challenging, but they rely on us as their parents to provide them the love, support, and comfort they need until they’ve fully recovered. If you notice your child’s symptoms are worsening or don’t show any improvement within a day or two, it’s best to take him to your doctor for a check-up and diagnosis.

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  • Thandiwe Simelane October 3, 2023 at 11:11 am

    So informative I feel more equipped

  • Thandiwe Simelane October 3, 2023 at 11:11 am

    I feel more equipped as a mom


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