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When Is Your Child Really Too Sick to Go to School?

“Mom, my belly hurts…”

Every mom has heard this whiny lament, and usually just before bedtime on a Sunday night, or upon waking up the morning of that big math test that your kid didn’t study for! Even if your kid isn’t faking it, a mild cold or sore throat that is “killing” them, doesn’t necessarily mean they cannot get out of bed and still participate in most, if not all, school activities.

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But, “mother’s intuition” aside about hooky playing shenanigans, how do you know when to really keep your kids home from school?

Here are some guidelines provided by

First of all, you should check with your school or preschool’s handbook, or parent’s guide. Many schools have their guidelines about when to keep kids home. For example, kids with strep throat need a dose or two of antibiotics first, which can mean staying home the day after diagnosis (or possibly longer).

Beyond that, here are some basic signs that may signal that your child is too sick to go to school.

  • If your child has a fever.
  • If your child has nausea or vomiting.
  • If your child has diarrhea.
  • If your child loses appetite, is lethargic or complains of pain.
  • If your child doesn’t seem himself or herself.

Most important, go with your gut. You know your kids best. If your son has the sniffles but hasn’t slowed down at home, chances are he’s well enough for the classroom. But if he’s been coughing all night and has a hard time getting up in the morning, he might need to take it easy at home.






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