When is Your Child too Sick to Attend School?


We’re in a rare week this winter that my daughter is not coughing or sniffling. (Of course, now that I just wrote this, she will wake up sick tomorrow.) But more often than not, the question we ask ourselves in the morning during the winter is whether our daughter is healthy enough to go to her pre-school.

When she started pre-school, two years ago, my bar was really high — a runny nose would be reason enough to keep her home. Of course this was a rookie working mom mistake because in no time my husband and I were using all of our personal days at work and realizing that this wasn’t a smart solution.

Over the last two years the bar has gotten progressively lower, and my general standard today is two-fold. If my daughter has a fever, she is automatically home, and if she doesn’t have a fever but is generally miserable, she is also staying home.

I can’t imagine that she would be comfortable going to school when she can’t go a few minutes without coughing and I wouldn’t want her coughing all over the other kids, for example. (Nice to know that docs seems to agree with using these criteria for deciding when kids should stay home or go to school.)

I have to admit that I get really upset at parents who send their kids to pre-school when they clearly should be resting at home. My husband and I both work and I am not unsympathetic to the difficulty of taking a day off to be home with a sick child, but I feel bad for the kid and I worry about the germs spreading all the way to my daughter.

I know, I know, germs are good for developing immune systems and they are ever-present in schools and daycares anyway, but a kid with a fever or who has a river coming out of his nose and is convulsing from endless sneezing fits should be home.

How do you decide when your kids are too sick for school? Do you feel that other parents at your kids’ school are fairly good about keeping sick kids home?



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