sick day

How to Plan Ahead for your Children’s Sick Days

Is it really possible to plan ahead for your children’s sick days?  Every working parent knows that sense of panic that overtakes you when your little shuffles into your room in the morning saying: “I don’t feel well.”  We try our best to be sympathetic, all the while doing the mental calculus in our brains: What meetings do I have scheduled today? Can I miss another day of work? Please thermometer, don’t keep going up!  Life can be even more tricky for expat or international families whose parents aren’t always home to take care of sick children.

Don’t worry, you can Call the Nanny Line! All of our nannies go through first-aid training so they are experts at helping kids to feel better.  Our babysitters love to cuddle, read stories, and play quietly so that your children can get better.  We offer last minute service when you in a pinch.  But, why not try out a couple of our pre-screened babysitters ahead of time?  That way your child won’t have to meet a new caregiver when they aren’t feeling well.  You can read about all of our amazingly-talented and creative nannies and babysitters on our website.

Here are some of our other suggestions for how to prepare for those inevitable children’s sick days.

First of all, do they really need to stay home?

If your child has any of the following, they should stay home, getting better and keeping everyone else at school from getting sick:

  • Fever (higher than 100.4°F, 38°C).  Your child should be fever-free (without taking any Paracetamol or Ibuprofen) for 24 hours before sending them to school.  Even if you give them medication to bring their fever down, they are still fighting off an infection and shedding germs.
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea.  The same rules apply as with fever:  Your child should be vomit- and diarrhea-free for 24 hours (without taking medication) before you send them back to school.
  • Coughing that won’t stop or any change in their breathing.  A really bad cough can make it hard for kids to learn and play, never mind getting others in the class sick.  You should see a doctor if you notice a change in the way your child is breathing or if they seem out of breath with their normal activities.
  • Bad pain. Many kids use the “my stomach hurts” or a headache as general way to say that they are anxious or not feeling quite right about something.  Then there was that time that my daughter told me her stomach hurt, then she turned green, and then she puked everywhere. So pain can be a tricky one to figure out in children.  If they are in severe pain that would impact their ability to play or learn, then maybe you should have the doctor check it out, especially if they don’t feel better after taking some Paracetamol or Ibuprofen.


So it is definitely a sick day, what to do next:

  1. Work from home.  The “work at home mom” has great tips and suggestions for how to successfully stay at home with your sick child, while still getting some work done. 
  2. Call a good friend or family member.  Keep a list of people you have talked to ahead of time who you know are willing to help you.  Make sure to have a list of important phone numbers, your child’s daily routine, and up-to-date medication information (including dosages and your child’s weight) ready for last-minute caregivers.  Prepare your home with a ready supply of tissues, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant spray to help keep them germ-free while staying with your child.
  3. Create your own back-up childcare co-op.  Form a group of parents who will agree to take care of other people’s sick children.  Seek out those parents with flexible schedules or who work from home.  Just remember, you’ll need to be ready to return the favor someday!
  4. Have your spouse to stay home.  Prepare for your children’s sick days by creating a functional and connected home office.  That way it will be easier for either spouse to work from home.  You can also sweeten the deal by providing lots of ideas for how to entertain a sick child at home.  Check out this list of great indoor activities for kids we came up with.  Your hubbie will say yes to staying home if they are equipped with a list of fun activities.
  5. Work a half day.  Think creatively with your team, boss, or colleagues about how you can still get the necessary work done.  Can meetings be re-scheduled or can you do a video conference? Could you and your spouse split the work day so that you don’t miss an entire day? 


Create a sick-child plan.

As a parent it is always helpful to try to prepare for the unexpected as much as you can.  Why not create a list of child care options that includes The Nanny Line occasional babysitters?  If you plan ahead for your children’s sick days, so you won’t be panicking when your child falls ill.  With young children there are a lot of unknowns, but one definite is that they will get sick at some point.

Do you have other ways that you cope with days when your child is sick?  Solutions that could help out other working parents of young children? We would love to hear your suggestions on our Instagram or Facebook pages.

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