It is always hard when our little ones come down with a cold, or anything similar. They are tired, cranky, uncomfortable, and unhappy. Their little bodies are aching and they can't breathe through their noses. A good night's sleep is far from attainable. Instead of running and playing, they are laying miserably on the couch or in bed. Snot-filled tissues are piling up everywhere. Life just isn't the same. As parents, we feel helpless, because all we want is to take it away, but in reality all we can do is try to keep them comfortable while we wait for it to work itself out. Luckily, there are a lot of great products and ideas out today that can help a cold feel a little less yucky.
I would say probably the most important thing to do for your child when they are sick, especially when nose or chest congestion of any kind is involved, is to run a humidifier in their room. If possible, put it right next to their bed and run it all night on a higher setting. This can really help loosen up congestion and bring it out. It will also help keep any nasal congestion at a thin consistency so little noses don't get stopped up by thick snot. Another added benefit is that when a lot of mouth breathing is going on, a humidifier keeps the air moist so little throats don't get too dry. Every time my ODS is sick, his doctor really stresses the fact that humidifier should be running in his room at night. I have missed a night here and there though, and I have noticed a serious difference, so I always try to make sure I have it on when he is sick.
Something that I have come across that I really like to use is baby vapor bath. There are several different brands, and I have found that they are all really the same thing. They are enriched with rosemary, eucalyptus, and menthol - natural herbs that are known for their aromatherapy benefits. It isn't too strong, but it is such a nice way to sooth a sick kid before bed. All of that on top of the nice warm water soothing their aches and pains makes for a really good thing. Heck, sometimes I use it for myself when I am sick!
Get them to drink something warm. It can be warm apple juice, tasty chicken soup, decaf tea with a little honey added depending on age and if they will go for it. Warm beverages are great because they soothe throats and clear up mucous at the same time. Keep them relaxing as much as possible. The more rest they get, the more their little bodies can focus all of their energy on getting better. Read some books, listen to some nice music, watch a couple of movies. They will feel better when they rest anyway.
Most importantly, just be there to comfort your child. Lots of hugs and cuddles might be really nice while they're feeling down. Hang out with them so that they don't feel like they are being left out or like their day is ruined because of a cold. Just stay close give out lots of love, sometimes that in of itself can be very healing. With a loved one around to help you feel better, a cold can go by much faster.