Thursday, 16 February 2012

Kids and illness: how sick must they be to miss school?

Today's post is by Jo Middleton is an award-winning blogger, mum of two daughters, freelance writer and marketing consultant. She lives in Bristol and loves sharing stories of family life, dating disasters and random musings on her blog, Slummy single mummy. Today, she's writing about when the kids are off sick.

I hate it when my kids are off sick, and will often send them in 'feeling sick' with a spoonful of calpol. When they are at home, I insist on constant bed rest, to make the day as dull as possible. Is this fair, or am I being cruel?
There are plenty of aspects of parenting that I do well. I’m happy to go on trips to the cinema, I can talk openly about delicate issues, and I don’t mind the odd game of Sylvanian Families, but one thing I am really not good at is dealing with sick children.

I know I should probably be sat at their bedside, mopping their fevered brows and helping them sip from a mug of homemade chicken broth, but I just can’t. When it comes to illness, I just have no sympathy – I just want them better, back at school, and out from under my feet.

When I was a child, my mum used to make staying home from school a real treat. Any sign of a sniffle and we could tuck ourselves up under a duvet on the sofa with a bit of Richard and Judy, and enjoy big bowls of tomato soup with grated cheese on top. When being sick is so much fun though, where’s the incentive to get better?

While my stay-at-home-mum was able to take care of us without having to worry about work, my full time self-employment means a child at home really is a headache, for them and me, and so I try to discourage sickness as much as possible. I ensure a day off is as dull as possible, so that they’re soon begging to go back to school, if only so they can sit upright.

“Bed rest!” I’ll declare with mock concern whenever one of my daughters is ill. “It’s the only way. If you’re not well enough for school you’ll need complete bed rest. All day. You can get up to go to the toilet, but other than that you’ll have to remain lying down at all times. I will bring you water and plain toast and you’re allowed to read.”

This approach soon filters out the really poorly from those who are just hoping to watch a bit of Cash in the Attic.

What’s your approach to sick kids? Are you in the ‘tough love’ camp or do you think I’m horribly cruel and uncaring?

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