The school sick day dilemma: should they stay or should they go?

From my latest Babble blog post:

As a result of my parents’ draconian position on missing school for illness, I rather predictably veered strongly in the opposite direction when my eldest started kindergarten. My lax sick day policy with my own kids was certainly reactionary, but it was also based on my carefully considered views regarding some of the fundamental problems with how our school system is organized. I felt (and still do feel) that American children spend too many hours each week in the classroom, and too many hours doing homework, and that they do not get enough time to play or to explore what they do learn in school on their own, outside of class.

H, J and E – all 3 legitimately sick at home with a virus a few years ago, all on the same day. They all passed out on top of each other on the futon, like a bunch of sleepy puppies. Note that E is wearing giant gloves. He swore they made him feel better, so he wore them until he was well.


So for many years – and this was possible mainly because I worked from home almost exclusively during that period – I had no problem with letting my three older kids miss school for even the mildest expression of unwellness, or even when I simply felt that one of them needed a mental health day. And like so many parenting missteps I’ve made along the way (and from which I like to think I have learned, and continue to learn) I can only say now that, well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!