Sick Kids and School

With flu season upon us, it is quite common for your child to catch some kind of flu or bug from the other kids at school. It can be hard to know when to send them and when to keep them home. If your child has a fever or has a cough that is exastrabated by moving, I would recommend keeping them at home. Other obvious ones would be if your child is throwing up.

Sometimes, it can be hard to know where that line is between keeping your kids at home or sending them to school. This was an issue I had with Jack this week. On Tuesday, he woke up with a pretty rough cough and had a small fever. Since in my head, fever is an automatic stay at home, he stayed at home that day. He had a nap in the afternoon which told me he really was sick.

On Wednesday, he woke up with a small cough. A small cough isn’t enough to stay at home, so I told him he was okay to go to school. He got really upset and told me his head hurt and that he was sick and needed to stay at home. Being that I want to believe my children when they tell me things, I kept him at home because he told me he was sick. I did a couple of double checks to make sure he NEEDED to stay at home, and then called the school.

An hour and a half later, I asked Jack how he was feeling and he said he could go to school right away.

Wait. What?

I asked if he was feeling better, to which he replied “Oh mom, I was just kidding. I’m not sick.”

Cue the crickets in the room as I processed this information, which was followed by an  “Excuse me!?!!?”

I can tell you that the conversation that followed was not fun for him, as we discussed the importance of telling the truth and not pretending to be sick, as you can get very hurt when you pretend to be sick. I did not dish out a punishment right away as I wanted to discuss the situation with Jarrett, but we packed everyone up and got Jack to school within 20 minutes. Jack knew he would get his punishment when Daddy got home, and he was not impressed when I told him Daddy would find out.

It can be hard as a parent to know when to put your foot down and tell your kid that they aren’t sick and that they just have to go to school. I want to trust Jack, and believe him when he says he’s sick. You hope that you instill the ideals of truth in them so that you don’t have situations where they pretend to be sick so they can stay home, but it isn’t a sure thing.

I had an instinct that morning that he might be okay, but figured I would trust his decision. I don’t know if we as parents should always follow our gut, or, like today, trust them until they break that trust and then follow our gut. I’m sure it is situational, and none of us have a perfect answer, but hopefully, this experience will teach him that truth is the only way to go and we will not have to deal with a situation like this again. I’m probably being hopeful, but I’m going to keep my fingers crossed on this one!



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