Child Care & Illness

Every working parent is warned about how kids in child care centers have perpetual runny noses, but until you get dreaded “sick call” again and again, you just can’t relate to how much stress it causes. We are lucky to have pretty healthy kiddos, but those calls still come far too often. We rotate our on-call parent duties, but it’s a stress on the whole family.

I was fed up this week when my Girly was sent home with a low grade fever and a cough (we’ve also been dealing with dietary issues, so this pushed me too far).  I certainly don’t want my kids spreading diseases, but common colds are called that for a reason.  Our kids attend a wonderful child care center, and I know they genuinely care for their health. But the national accreditation has strict requirements and little room for flexibility.  In my frustration I did a little Googling, and it turns out that a recent study showed that  50% of child care directors sent children home with mild illnesses .  

I consider myself “lucky” enough to have sick leave, and a policy that allows me to use up to 40 hours of my own sick leave for my children year (the quotations are supposed to hint at my disdain that Americans haven’t caught on to the whole European safety net idea!) But I wasn’t surprised that between two kids, my 40 hours maxed out in September (so Hubby’s been on full-time sick call.

Oregon has a better policy than most states, but many families still aren’t using/aware of the leave. I also appreciated this quote about how deep rooted this problem is for family finances:

“The majority of our work force lives paycheck to paycheck; taking a day off is difficult and the fear of losing a job is huge,” said Leslie Hammer, a professor of psychology at Portland State University who is working on a study of how supervisors affect an employee’s health and ability to care for their families. The solution is not just about money, but a combination of training supervisors to support family-friendly policies and give employees control over their work time to solve problems themselves.”

And yes, there are some days where I relish being able to stay home a snuggle a sick child, but I’d rather save that for true illness.

How do you deal with absences due to sick kids?

Sustainable Family Finances  
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

One thought on “Child Care & Illness

  1. Ms. Miel

    Love the picture! Very cute. But the subject is pretty concerning. I think there is such an issue when we don’t even have adequate structures to deal with sick kids, spouses, parents, etc.

    I think this will likely become more of an issue as our generation has both kids and parents to care for at some level. I think employers will have to figure out new ways of working to be flexible.



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