Struggle Through or Stay At Home – How Sick Is Too Sick?

sickWe’ve all had the lurgy over the last couple of weeks, sore throats, coughs, sneezes and the shivers, it was my turn first and now Mr B is suffering, then this morning Rachel got up and said she was feeling sick and had a terrible headache, to be fair she’s had the sore throat for a couple of days now so it wasn’t unexpected.

The question is though when do you keep the kids off school or even the adults off work? In my younger days it was simple unless your legs had fallen off you went to school (and even then my mum would probably have popped me in a trolley and wheeled me there). My mum’s famous saying was, just go and if you get worse the school will send you home! Of course it wasn’t that simple and they rarely did.

It seem’s times have changed though, I recently heard from a parent who on attending her child’s school was shocked at the amount of children coughing and sniffling. She was extremely angry at the parents who had let those children attend school as she feared her child who had already had several episodes of poor health would catch something, but my question is as a working parent should I take time off work to keep my child at home every time they have a runny nose or are sneezing?


If your child has chickenpox or some other contagious disease we all know to keep them off school and if they’ve got a sickness bug the schools insist on 48 hours after the last bout of illness and that makes sense, but what about when they have a cold or cough or are generally under the weather?

Today I kept Rachel off school because she rarely says she feels unwell, and loves school so much (give it a few years) that she doesn’t like to miss it, the deciding factor was when I told her she wouldn’t be able to go to drama tonight if she missed school and she readily agreed, the fact she was willing to miss her beloved drama was proof enough for me that she was indeed ill.

However some calpol and a quick nap later while she is not exactly bursting with energy she probably could have struggled through a day at school and I would not have had to take a day off work, because although my workplace is infinitely understanding it is not unheard of for co-workers in any job to complain of their colleagues who are also parents taking time off to tend sick children and subsequently increasing their workload.

Sometimes it feels like you can’t win, send them to school and you risk being labelled a bad parent for spreading germs, keep them off and you risk an unhappy employer and a child who may grow up expecting to have time off work every time they cough.

Let me know your thoughts and in the meantime I’m off to distribute tissues and throat sweets.


2 thoughts on “Struggle Through or Stay At Home – How Sick Is Too Sick?

  1. That lovely bug is making its way through our house. Our kids had it first now me and the hubby have it. We sent Liam into school on the Tuesday when it was just a cough and sniffles but I felt really bad as when he came home he looked awful (he is in Primary 1) When I called the school the next day to say he would be off for the rest of the week the woman from the office said most of the school had it, as did she, and that Liam had looked awful the day before. I hate keepiung him off school but needs must at times x


    1. I know, it’s so hard making that decision whether to keep them off but always think you know your own child best and now when they are really not well and need to be kept off x


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