I asked her oodles of questions like, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how sick do you feel?” And, “If you stay home, will you read and rest not play video games all day?”
I then did what many overprotective parent do—I kept her home.
A couple of hours later the inevitable happened. She was totally fine. Bouncing off the walls, fine. She wanted to go out on her scooter. She wanted to go get ice cream. She wanted to go to Target to buy new toys. The answer to those “Yeah, you are sooo not sick” requests were no, no and hells no.
But here is the thing: Had this happened just once, it would have been fine. But no, this happened three Fridays in a ROW. Not only did I lose valuable work time, but also she missed very important days at school. I learned four big lessons after this string of sick days.
1. I’m a total sucker for a sad face.
2. Turns out she has seasonal allergies, hence the sore throat.
3. When I say she will have to rest and read all day, this will NOT happen.
4. I have no idea when I should keep my kid home from school or just send her in.
“It’s not practical to keep everybody out who’s shedding virus”
During her last not-so-sick-day I went to Facebook and asked my fellow parents where they draw the line. “Fever or projectile vomiting or doctor's orders,” one pal wrote. “My kids know too well how to work the system. They would much rather be home than at school, so they will work whatever ailment for as long as possible.”
Another stated, “I play it way too safe too, but sick days are kind of precious in a way, so I might enjoy them more than I should. Plus I think it's thoughtful to not send them sick.”
Two very different views on the same parenting challenge and, no, that didn’t help me figure it out.
• Vomiting twice or more over a 24-hour period or being unable to tolerate normal food and drink, or both.
• A temperature of 101 or higher.
• Severe coughing or difficulty breathing.
• Repeated bouts of severe diarrhea for at least a day.
• Persistent abdominal pain (more than 2 hours).
• Open sores on the mouth.
• A skin rash or red eye from an undetermined cause.
• Head lice or scabies.
• Other contagious conditions such as strep throat, chicken pox, impetigo, etc.
As for that cough that lingers, that is often just your child recovering. “It’s not practical to keep everybody out who’s shedding virus,” the New York Times states. “That’s everybody all winter long.”