Should You Keep Your Kids Home From School?

Today, I was listening to the radio as I drove to work. The 2 DJ's were arguing about if you should send your kids to school if they're sick, and what they should be able to do when they are home.

DJ #1 said that he always sends his kids to school when they're sick (because he thinks they're faking it). And if they stay home, he makes it miserable for them - no phones, no Netflix, etc.

DJ #2 said he would let his kids stay home and would let them watch TV and play video games, and he would give them whatever they needed - like stopping by the store to get ice cream and shooting off confetti canons to make them feel better.

I like DJ #2 best.

How do you decide when you should keep the kids home from school if they are sick?

Everyone has their own ideas as a parent, so I found some advice from a doctor. Dr. Chad Hayes has an article called, "Too Sick for School? Here's Your Guide."

Dr. Hayes talks about pink eye, vomiting, strep throat, lice, concussions, asthma, etc. He explains each one in detail and when they should stay home, and when they should go to school.

For asthma, he says:

"Children with asthma have a lot of different triggers—from allergen exposures to viral infections, exercise, and a lot more. There’s no concern about spreading this to other children (except maybe the cold that kicked it off), so it really depends on the child’s symptoms. If they are having difficulty breathing, or if they need treatments so frequently that the school or daycare can’t provide them, keep them at home. But remember, missing school frequently due to asthma is a sign that it’s not well-controlled."

Asthma Action Plans for decision-making

When my kids were little, I wouldn't send them to school if they were in the Yellow Zone of their Asthma Action Plan.  For us, that meant the kids were having a hard time breathing and needed a breathing treatment every 4 hours. I wanted them close by where I could keep an eye on them. My kids had a habit of going from bad to worse VERY quickly. They were hospitalized 12 times (thanks to pneumonia.)

That's the problem with sending kids to school when they are sick - they share everything, including germs - which gets other kids sick. And one student with a cold and cough may be just that - a cold. But if you have asthma, a cold and cough can easily turn into pneumonia. And for us, that would mean another hospitalization.

When my kids were discharged from the hospital, Asthma Doc would tell me to keep the kids home for the entire week. Why? Well, our lungs can get pretty cranky, and they need time to heal. In fact, your whole body needs to rest and recover. Struggling to breathe can be very tiring!

So, if my kids wanted to play video games and watch TV when they were sick or just discharged from the hospital? You got it! You want ice cream? I'll have dad pick some up on his way home from work. Anything else? How about a new blanket or toy?!

For those of you with kids - how do you decide if you should send your sick child to school? What do you let them do if they stay home?

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