This post is part of my Wellness Wednesday series brought to you in sponsored partnership with Aurora Health Care.
Being a parent means having to make decisions – thousands of them it seems – everyday. Honestly, when I hit my breaking point, it’s usually the constant decision making that pushes me over the edge. It gets to the point where I can’t even deal with deciding what to make for dinner! It’s one of those things about being a parent that no one tells you ahead of time.
Trying to decide if Josh is too sick to go to school or not is always a challenge. Ironically, most parents have the issue of their kids wanting to stay home for just a sniffle. I have the opposite problem – Josh wants to go to school no matter what! (I know – whose kid IS this?!?) Either way, as parents we need to be the voice of reason when deciding if kids should go to school or not. I’ve royally messed this up both ways: insisting that Josh stay home and then watching him bounce all over the house because he is perfectly fine AND insisting that he go to school and getting that your-kid-threw-up-in-the-classroom call. We’ve all been there, right?
Basically, there are three things you should consider when making the decision on whether or not your child should stay home from school according to the experts at Aurora Health Care.
First, does your child have a fever?
A fever is a sign that the body is fighting something and it needs support, like additional rest and fluids. Medical experts explain that a fever is defined as any reading over 100 to 100.4 degrees. Most schools have a policy that students cannot attend if they have a fever and should really stay home until they have been fever free for 24 hours. (Check your own school’s handbook to see their specific instructions on this.) This makes it easier for me to convince Josh to stay home when he says he really isn’t feeling “that bad”. I just explain that it’s not up to me – it’s the school’s rule. Of course, you are the best judge of what is best for your child. If they are measuring in at 99.9 degrees and just not acting like themselves, you are perfectly justified in keeping them home.
Is your child well enough to benefit from going to school?
There have been times when Josh hasn’t had a fever, but had such a bad cold that I knew he was going to be miserable and not get anything out of being at school. Plus, having to get up and blow his nose every two minutes was going to be distracting to his classmates and probably annoy the teachers. I might keep him home where he can get additional rest and really pound the fluids.
Is your child contagious?
I’m going to address this one from the teacher’s point of view. (You might recall me saying I was an elementary teacher for 8 years.) Sending a sick child to school exposes everyone they come into contact with to whatever bug they have. My very first year of teaching, I had what seemed like a constant cold, strep throat four times, several sinus infections, two bouts of bronchitis and even chicken pox. I’m not saying that the kids were to blame for all of those – obviously I needed my immune system to adjust and get a bit stronger – but when I am making the call on whether to keep Josh home or not, I think of how I felt when I saw obviously sick kids coming in to school. I watched stomach bugs go through my classroom like a wave – those were not fun days, believe me.
As with most things parenting-related, the final call comes down to what you feel is best for your child. Trust your gut as you know your child better than anyone. For more information, check out Pediatrician Dr. Jenny Thomas’s discussion with my friends over at Fox6!!