Well, folks, it looks like we’ve entered the onslaught of cold season. I’ve even seen a few reports of the flu out there! My precious TimeHop tells me that every year about this time, someone (read EVERYone) in my family gets sick. It’s not always the same thing, doesn’t always happen the same way, but it seems like the past eight years have been filled with some sort of “hooray for the season change” sickness. This year is no different. We’ve oiled, vitamined, and handwashed. It’s simply unavoidable.
What do I hate most about the not so common cold season? Deciding when a child is too sick to be out and about. It drives me insane when I have to decide whether or not they are well enough for school. What are the rules on sickness? Sure there are some black and white ones:
- Don’t go to school (or anywhere… EVER) if there is a serious digestive issue. (Have to say that one all medically or else it’s just gross.)
- Don’t go to school if your child has a fever (100ish or above). They should be at home resting.
But what are you supposed to do when whatever gunk your kid has doesn’t fit into one of those neat little boxes. What about those days when it is SERIOUSLY right on the line? What do you do when it’s not just a common cold, but the cold to beat all colds.
I’m trying to figure that out one tissue at a time.
Now I have a kid in big school, where they COUNT absences, both excused or unexcused. They keep track of the absences he has thanks to the germs that get shared in those very walls! It’s my job as a parent to make the right call about whether he should be there or not, and there is no guidebook.
It’s impossible to keep him home every time he is sniffly, sneezy, coughy, or snotty, Not only is that just ridiculous, but I’m pretty sure there would be a truancy officer at my door. (They still have those, right?) But I also know that a child with a brutal cough or volcanic sneezes simply shouldn’t be at school.
Enter the Golden Rule.
I’m working on simply putting the timeless Golden Rule into effect regarding sickness, at least in our family. If my kids’ symptoms or behavior is something that would bother me from another child, they stay home.
I wouldn’t want someone else sending their child with a constant hacking cough to our school, so I won’t send mine when he does that.
I wouldn’t want someone else sending their child with the total “sick eyes” look to school, so I won’t do that either. (You know that look they get in their eyes that lets you know something is very wrong?)
I wouldn’t want to see a child that is so congested they can hardly breathe wheezing at the table next to my kid, so if serious congestion is in play, at home he will stay.
Yes it can be tricky. Yes, it means juggling work schedules, cancelling extra activities (if you miss school, you don’t get to do the other cool stuff either), and being flexible. Luckily, my job and my husband’s job allows us quite a bit of wiggle room which is REALLY nice. Even if it didn’t though, I know sick kids still can’t go to school.
I guess when it all boils down, it’s really all about common sense and the whole “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” mantra. There is no black and white rule book when it comes to handling sick kids. You do your best. You make chicken soup even if it’s from a can, use a few natural remedies, and bring out the cold medicine.
At least that’s what I’m trying.