Stomach Flu and Kids – The Trick to Less Mess and More Sleep

Do you struggle with keeping up with the mess when your child has the stomach flu? When you get woken up in the night with a combination of stomach flu and kids, do you find yourself walking around aimlessly not sure how to best handle the situation?
stomach flu and kids
This was me, until I came up with a system for dealing with the stomach flu and our family. It may sound pathetic, but it’s called survival! You see, when you have children who are prone to vomiting (not just because of the flu), you learn that a having a system in place makes it more manageable.


  • You will know what to do when you are half asleep.
  • Others in your household may be able to assist you if they know what you need.
  • You will be able to get back to sleep faster.
  • There will be less of a mess!

So, do you want to know my system? First of all, you need to know what materials I keep on hand:

  • large black garbage bag
  • 2 small plastic trash bins
  • a pile of wash cloths
  • old towels (and lots of them)
  • a large waterproof mat (see some examples here (scroll down in the post – trust me!)
  • extra bedding
  • waterproof bed mats – these are seriously a necessity in our house!

Ok, now that you have collected all of your required items, it is time to create a system.

  1. Fill a large rubbermaid bin with old towels, a large garbage bag, a large waterproof mat.
  2. Have a fully stocked basket of small child-sized wash cloths at all times and know exactly where to find this basket.
  3. Store the rubbermaid bin as well as the 2 small empty trash bins (you can always find these at the dollar store) in the same place and communicate with any other adults in the house this location.
  4. Double make your child’s bed (in layers).
    Layer 1: Waterproof mattress pad
    Layer 2: fitted sheet
    Layer 3: waterproof pads
    Layer 4: fitted sheet
    Layer 5: waterproof pads

After the first incident, strip off the first layer of bedding and roll up an old towel to place between the bed and the wall (if the bed is against the wall). Cover your child’s floor with the large waterproof beach blanket/mat (we all know that children can’t aim). Cover your child’s pillow with a towel. Place bucket beside child and explain to them what to do if they feel like they are going to vomit. Place the basket of cloths in child’s room – these can be used to wipe their mouth or hands.

If you have the help from a second adult, instruct them to grab the bin of stuff and you get to your child as quickly as possible to contain the mess.

All in all, it is the layering of the bed, the rolled towels and the “splash mat” on the floor that have been what have saved me during these awful experiences over the years. Now that my children are older, I have encourage them to try to make it to the washroom. However, I have also explained to them that if in doubt, just sit up in bed and grab their sheet. The truth is, it is easier to clean up a mess IN a bed than it is all throughout the hall leading to the washroom, wouldn’t you agree?

Now, you may feel like this system of mine is a bit extreme, and perhaps you are correct. However, it is a system that works for me and that is all that matters. When I’m woken up startled in the middle of the night, I’m a bit useless until I have some time to adjust to the situation, so if I am prepared, I am able to do what needs to be done with ease.

The combination of stomach flu and kids isn’t fun.

The trick is to make it a bit easier with a plan!

Do you have any tips to share with us that have worked for you and your family?

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3 Responses to Stomach Flu and Kids – The Trick to Less Mess and More Sleep

  1. loriag says:

    Those are great tips for dealing with the stomach flu.

  2. kathy downey says:

    Thanks for the tips,my grandson has a stomach flu right now poor little guy!

  3. kathy downey says:

    We have hubby and 2 grandkids down with the stomach flu…’s wearing me down ! Thanks for the helpful tips

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