Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Managing Sick Kids on Workdays

For dual-income families raising one or more children it can sometimes be tough when kids get sick on a work day. Not all working parents have flexibility to take-off from work and need to find other means for daycare and back-up options for ill children if they are unable to work at or stay home.

My husband Daniel is a freelance technology expert and writer and works from home. And I, fortunately, work for a company that has a great understanding for parents in situations like this and also work a type of job, public/media relations, which enables me to do all that I need to from my home computer and phone.

Together, Daniel and I tag team to care for our daughter Sarah on days when she's home sick. We work around each others deadlines and work assignments to make the most of the situation.

Any parent knows, nothing is etched in stone no matter how hard we try to plan. We need to be flexible as best as possible. Thankfully, with our employers, their understanding is valuable in these unexpected and unfortunate situations.

To add to this, I have previously written posts on this site about kids and television watching and believe that children should be limited to how much television they are exposed to. However, on sick days, this theory for us goes out the window.

Yep. I admit to the fact that on sick days Sarah gets a whole lot more television watching than usual especially when work and clients needs must be addressed and assignments completed. Fortunately, I can work early in the morning, late at night or by her bedside on my laptop, if necessary, to get what needs to get done.

While television has become a necessary evil I have also realized something else too that's interesting and helpful. If you were to see Sarah when she is sick (e.g., cold, fever) you would never know it outside of symptoms of coughing, temperature spikes or appetite loss. She is often one of the happiest and most active sick kids you will ever see. Therefore, she doesn't rest much on days when she is sick. Sometimes, sitting her in front of the television on these sick days almost gives her the rest she wouldn't otherwise get that her body needs but her mind tells her otherwise.

It's just not worth beating myself up as a parent for voluntarily exposing Sarah to too much television on days when she is home ill and Daniel and I have to work. On these days too, when I am working from home Sarah wants to spend even more time with me and television helps to ease her frustration by comforting her when my attention needs to be elsewhere.

Thanks to my employer and the clients my husband represents for enabling us to care for our child when she is ill.

As parents, sometimes we have to do what we have to do to comfort our kids. And, since money doesn't grow on trees, and we need to make a living to provide for our families, a bit more television than usual hopefully will not change things too much in these infrequent situations and not impact her development. Instead, hopefully it will provide our sick little ones the rest and comfort they need and require while they recuperate.

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