When to keep the kids home from school

sick-kidsThis is sometimes a really hard decision. When is a kid to sick to go to school and/or when should you just send them?  When my boys were young it was so much different than it is now.  There  wasn’t the amount of daycare there is now so people didn’t miss work if they has a sick child. So many people just didn’t work.  But it’s a real problem now.

This was on Good Question one day last week and they had a school nurse giving her opinion.  Certainly some things are no brainers.  High fevers or puking or even just coughing hard or a really sore throat or a really miserable cold. I think we all know when our kids are sick and when they should stay home.  But, working in a school for as long as I did, you can’t believe the shape some kids are sent to school in.

I used to make a deal with my boys.  If for some reason, not counting a test they had to take but on a day if they just felt like staying home, they had to be honest with me and tell me they just wanted a day off.  Once or twice a year, I’d let them stay home. We all need a day off but I hated being lied to so if they were honest, I’d let them have a day.  But if they lied, they knew I’d take them to school WHEN I found out they lied.  They knew I would. They also knew that if they stayed home, there would be no outside activities.  Jason was in a sport no matter what time of year it was so he didn’t pull the sick card very often and Toby couldn’t tell a lie to save his soul so this wasn’t really a problem for me. 

But this is a problem for a lot of people so what do you do?  How do you decide if your kids need to stay home other than the obvious? I know someone that drugs her kids up if they have a fever because she feels she can’t miss work and this way at least she can get half a day in until the meds wear off and the daycare calls with “that call” to come pick up her child.  Some parents fight over who should stay home.  Should she or should he?  

I also used the “go to school and if you don’t feel better, I’ll come and get you.”  Sometimes we just don’t feel up to par but feel better if we are up and at-em.  But then you take the chance that the poor kid will puke on the bus or in class so that’s hard too because when you go to pick them up they tell you in front of the school nurse “I told you I didn’t feel good” and you stand there feeling like a schmuck.  I hear a lot of blame going around too. Some parents get mad if other kids go to school sick.  But, in all reality, by the time your showing symptoms, it’s already been spread around.  Colds and flu’s are always going to go around and most people agree if it’s just normal coughing and some congestion, kids really shouldn’t miss school for that.

So I was curious to what you all thought or what you do.  What makes you decide to keep your kids home from school?  Do you have anyone to stay with them if you just CAN’T miss work?

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16 Responses to When to keep the kids home from school

  1. javajunkee says:

    LOL I dont’ think I can answer this out of a technicality ..since mine are home from and for school 😉

  2. Joy says:

    java…huh?? I’m not sure what you meant or I’d have fixed it. Our minds usually think alike.

  3. Otto Mann says:

    I would let them run amok at home.

    Cross my fingers and hope for the best.

  4. SKL says:

    Joy, maybe Java homeschools?

    Right now, I have a nanny and usually work at home, so I really don’t have this issue. Most likely, if it ever arises, I’ll do what my parents did. If we were old enough (as in 10 or so), we stayed home alone and were not allowed to go out at all that day. If we were too young to stay home alone all day, we walked to a back-up babysitter’s house. (She lived about a mile away, but my mom didn’t have a car, the babysitter didn’t drive, and my dad left for work before we got up, so we had no choice but to walk it, even if we had the flu. Not fun!) Well, times have changed, and most likely my backup will have wheels, but other than that, I’ll probably do the same.

    We faked our mom out a few times. Not too often, because she demanded “evidence” such as a high fever or actual vomit in the toilet. (“I already flushed it down” didn’t cut it.) Concocting convincing fake vomit is a challenge. There were times I faked the school nurse out too. (Funny, I always got sick on Thursdays because that was the only day the nurse came to our school.) The nurse would let me walk home from school, sometimes asking my older brother to accompany me.

    I don’t think I’d automatically keep a kid home because of a cold or a mild fever, cough, or sore throat. It would have to be so bad that the kid was really uncomfortable and not able to function. Stomach flu, yeah – no teacher should have to deal with that.

    As far as keeping cold/flu germs away from other kids, I never did understand that. By the time you know they are sick, the germs have already been spread far and wide. It’s better to let healthy kids catch a cold or flu than to screw with nature by blocking all microorganisms they might come in contact with.

  5. It sounds like you, Joy, were the perfect middle-ground on this subject. I agree, sometimes we all just need a day off, and it’s better to be honest about it than to try to pretend to be sick.
    As I suffer from migraines, I had a lot of days where I came home in the middle of the school-day because I just couldn’t sit under fluorescent lights with droning voices around me. I hardly ever get sick with a fever, so I hardly ever had to stay home because of that sort of thing.
    I think the compromise of agreeing to pick your child up if they keep feeling lousy is a good one – but then again, it really depends on the situation. What if the school is a forty minute drive from your house? What if you work and then, just when your child calls you and asks to be picked up, you need to go into an important meeting?
    I suppose my rambling comment’s conclusion is that this HAS to be individual to the case and the person – for instance, when my mom was abroad on her own for short periods of time when I was little and only my father was around, I had a tough time with this because my school wouldn’t let me go home when there was no one at home and my father couldn’t leave work, so I had to stick it out at school. So, again, it has to be individual.

  6. javajunkee says:

    oh sorry…yep I homeschool. So my kids are actually home “from” school and home “for school” 🙂

  7. Joy says:

    LOL java. SKL said what I thought also but I wasn’t sure so couldn’t fix it for ya.

  8. holeycheese says:

    My kids are still very young and school is not even compulsory yet.. and I’m home. I don’t keep them home for a regular cold.. but the tiniest sign that they are not feeling well I keep them home. And after being sick I usally keep them home for a day extra or two. Sometimes I decide to have them home just because one of them was tired the day before.

    Though if we keep them home more than two days we need a paper from the doctor to show when they go back to school.

  9. nikki says:

    Good topic!!! I always know when Bailey isn’t feeling well, he’s always a ball of energy so when he isn’t and he tells me he doesn’t feel good, I believe him. I too allow him to stay home a couple times a year just because, it is alway on a day that not too much is going on, no tests. If he has a fever obviously he can’t go to school, a cold, he still goes if it isn’t bad. If I ever second guess sending him to school I call his nurse. She can most always tell me if it’s a good or bad idea to send him. He gets coughs worse than most kids, it’s asthmatic coughing, so it’s really bad and he can’t go then. He often ends up gagging and ends bad!!! If he happens to run out of his ADHD meds, which only happened twice this year, he doesn’t go to school. Some may not agree with that. If he were to go he not only would be a major distraction to others but to himself as well, he would not retain a thing he learned and would most likely end up being isolated from the class. If you know my son then you would know that is the worst thing that could happen to him, he’s very sensiitve.

  10. megan says:

    That’s a tricky call. Since I don’t have kids yet, I can’t answer this with any authority.

    But I can answer from the perspective of the after-school piano teacher. It’s amazing how many parents send obviously miserable kids in for their lessons. My general rule is that if you’re too sick to go to school, you’re too sick for your piano lesson. I don’t want kids coughs and snot all over my piano, making everyone who comes in afterwards (including me!) sick. Fortunately for me, the conservatory at which I work has just put a new policy in writing, stating that I have the authority to send home a student if I deem them too sick for a lesson.

    I would hope that when I have kids, I would retain a little common sense and not send my kids to school (or a piano lesson) when they are obviously sick.

  11. starlaschat says:

    I like that you let them stay home a couple times a year. Everyone needs a day off some times I like that to promote honesty. I think that’s great. I do not have kids so I can’t really answer what I would do, I’m not sure.

  12. nikki says:

    That’s good Meagan, you should have the written authority to send them home if see fit!

    I NEVER got to stay home just because!! I can’t even remember ever being sick and staying home. I know I did, I just have no memories of it. Probably a good thing.

  13. Just a Mom says:

    I keep my girls home if they are running a fever or are just plain miserable from a cold or sinus problems. My kids are very good about sick days and they actually hate haveing to stay home because of the make-up work!
    We give the kids 2 “Mental Health Days” a year. This can’t be taken on a test day. We also occasionally let them play hooky if we are doing something like going to a golf tournament or an auto race.

  14. Gary says:

    We of course keep our kids home from school when they have a fever or are praying to the porcelan god. We also give them 1 day per semester or twice a year as a “day off” except on test days which is usually on Friday’s.

    We made a “rule” for sick day’s here at my house to try and ensure they are actually too sick to go to school and not just playing hookie. When they stay home, they must remain in bed for the day. No video games, internet suring, etc. Watching T.V. is fine but they have to stay in bed. No sports either. If you are too sick to go to school, you are too sick to get tackled on the football field. Since I am a “stay at home” dad, it’s pretty easy to enforce the “sick rule” and it seems to work well for us. We figure if you are actually feeling too poopy to go to school, then you really shouldn’t mind laying around in bed all day anyway. 🙂

  15. Tosha says:

    Taylor is the worlds worst at trying to get out of going to school. She can make herself sick very easily and uses it to get out of school. Or atleast she did until the school wised up and made her stay at school. Cole doesnt try to get out of school often. If my kids have a fever I keep them home. If they have a cough I send them to school. If they claim they are sick to their stomach. Unless I have proof they go to school. i know that sounds bad but thats Taylors number one way of getting out of school. Occasionally we just give them a day off but not often because really they get alot of days off anyway. Once a month our schools have early release then you have the holidays and teacher work days and all.

  16. Tessa says:

    My mom would come home if we were real sick or my grandma took care of us. If we had a fever we stayed home, or something bad, otherwise in school to tough it out like the rest.

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