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How to Decide Whether to Send Your Sick Child to Preschool

How to Decide Whether to Send Your Sick Child to Preschool

It's every mom's nightmare: waking up in the morning (or the wee hours of the morning) to hear your child cry "Mommy, my throat hurts." Is it okay, as Circle of Moms member Ester D. wonders, "to send your kids to school when they have a cold or [are] just a little less than one hundred percent healthy," or should parents keep their preschoolers home "at the first sign of a runny nose" to prevent the spread of germs to other kids?

With minor sniffles and coughs so frequently besetting little kids, this difficult dilemma comes up often for parents. Some Circle of Mom members, including Lynn, are exasperated by parents who persist in sending their sick kids to school, where they spread their colds to others. "I am so tired of my children being sick for two weeks, being healthy for a week, and then being sick for two weeks, then healthy again."

But for working moms, the question is fraught. Circle of Moms member Ester D. points out that even though it's not a big deal at this age for a child to miss a day of school, it's difficult for a working mom to miss work to stay at home with the child. "My son goes if he has a cold. I'm a working mom and if I had kept him home every time he had a runny nose he would have been home the entire first year of his life. Unfortunately I just don't have those kinds of vacation days. If my son spreads his germs to other kids, I'm sorry about that, but that's life."


When It's Okay to Send Your Sick Child to School

Sarah M. is another mom who feels like she's frequently making these tough calls. "If my girls have vomited, they are kept out of school for 48 hours. But colds are different. They go to school if they have a cold. You just can't keep yourself or [your] kids out for every little sniffle."

But just how sick does your child have to be before you keep her home? Even Liz S., who is both a mom and a daycare teacher, isn't quite sure where to draw the line. She asks, "Do you allow kids with faucet-like runny noses to be in care? Fever? Coughing? "

"It's a tough call," say Amie T. She draws the line at fevers and persistent coughs: "It depends on what it is and the season. Runny noses are pretty common in kids, could be allergies, just the weather changing or a kid could just be prone to runny noses. No big deal. If they are coughing, have a fever, or other signs of something more serious, and then keep them home. My kids are generally healthy, always have been. I have always kept them home when they're ill. They are my responsibility to take care of, so I take care of them."

For many moms, the deciding factor is the presence of a fever. "If there is no fever, and the child seems pretty healthy, it's okay to send her off to school," says Erin L. "When my son was in daycare I swear he had a runny nose every day. He was never really sick, just had a runny nose, so maybe an allergy problem? He went to daycare and preschool."

Louise G. says moms should trust their parental intuition: "Kids are sick for so many reasons: overeating, too much jumping about after food, and of course illness. You are the best judge of how your child is. If [she] appears well I send my child to preschool. If I am in doubt I keep her at home." And when a child seems seriously ill, most Circle of Moms members agree that the question is easy to settle. "When my daughter is sick with an actual medical condition or fever I keep her at home," says Jess L. "Sometimes you just need to be at home in your own bed with your mommy."

Do you ever send your sick kid to preschool?

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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