Deciding when to keep your kids home from school

The phone rings. I see on the caller ID that it is the school calling. Sigh. No one wants a call from the school. It is never good.

sick childIt was the nurse’s office. Lexie was in the office complaining of not feeling well. She said her head and stomach hurt but the nurse said she wasn’t running a fever. After a brief conversation on the phone with Lexie, I decided to pick her up from school.

No one likes when their children don’t feel well. And no one likes to have to be at school or work when they don’t feel well. But the reality is that sometimes you do just need to muddle through it.

After bringing Lexie home and dosing her with some medicine for the headache, I sat her down for a heart-to-heart discussion about staying home from school. This was the second time in two months that she has gone to the nurse’s office and come home early, and I didn’t want it to become a habit.

I stressed to her the importance of being at school. Her job as a child is to learn, and she can’t do that if she is at home. And while I know she wasn’t feeling well and that it might make it harder to learn, sometimes you just have to deal with it.

I told her that since she had done this twice, I would be following my normal sick day rules – if you aren’t throwing up or running a fever (over 100 degrees) you should be at school.

There have been a few times that I have relented in this policy and let the kids stay home. Each time I have regretted it as they are never truly sick. Yes, in some cases they are not at 100%, but they weren’t contagious and should have been at school learning.

I know quite a few other parents who keep their kids home every time the kid says they are not feeling well. I think the kids have caught on as to how to not go to school. But too many absences from school can easily hurt your child’s grades.

My belief that learning and school are important are also why we don’t take the kids out of school for vacations. Oh don’t get me wrong, I have taken them out of school for a half day to take them to the rodeo or even a whole day for a trip to the beach. But I won’t be pulling them out for a cruise or week-long trip to Disney World during the school year.

For the first three years of school, Jase never made it to the last day of school as we always pulled him out on the last day or two of school for a vacation but at this time the grades are in and the learning is done. It is a whole different matter to miss so much time during the rest of the school year. I just can’t in good consciences do it. We can go on our family vacations during school breaks.

But in the end, I know each parent has to decide what is best for their child and their family. Maybe you don’t mind having your child away from school. They are only young once after all. But for my kids, I believe the best place for them is at school learning. And I told Lexie that from now on, if she goes to the nurse’s office, I am not coming to pick her up unless the nurse says I have to do so.

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3 thoughts on “Deciding when to keep your kids home from school

  1. I think sending them to school when they are not 100% teaches them a good work ethic and helps them develop the right attitude in later life. The kids would never agree to us taking them out of school for a holiday, and I’m really proud of how much effort they put into their learning.

  2. Joan Lindgren says:

    I remember my brother pulling the same “I’m sick” routine. He did it before the bus came since we lived out in the country and had only one car and Mother couldn’t come get him later. Mother finally caught on to his routine and he went to school unless it was evident that he was really sick. I loved going to school and when I worked, I dragged myself to work when I didn’t feel 100%.
    I think it’s great that you had a talk with Lexie. Hopefully she won’t do this again.

  3. Skye Hegyes says:

    There was something I read online that I wanted to try with my girls when they started school. Not right away of course because they won’t understand it yet (I don’t think. I could be wrong though. We’ll see.) A parent allowed her children to have two days out of every school year where they could have a “mental health day”, meaning they could tell her they wanted to take that day and there would be no questions asked. She’d call the school and let the teachers know her kid(s) were sick, but the child wouldn’t necessarily be sick. The only exception was that it couldn’t be on any test days. From what I read, she said her kids strove to go to school more often so they could feel like they “earned” those mental health days, and she never had to worry about them feigning sickness in hopes of coming home early.

    I don’t remember missing too many days of school myself, and when I did I think it was only because I had my head hanging over a porcelain portal. I could be wrong about that though. My memory is not necessarily 100%.

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