What to Do When Your Child is Sick and You Have to Work

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Every working parent will one day have to deal with “the sick child crisis”.  Hopefully, you’ve planned ahead of time for this inevitable event.  If not, it’s best to begin now.

In many families, both parents need to work and the children need to go to daycare during the day, or before and after school while their parents are at work.  Most days, the routine goes off without a hitch.  Then, a child gets ill and can not go to daycare.  What now?

Check with your daycare provider to find out their rules on attendance and their illness policies. Will your child need a note from a doctor to be allowed back to daycare?  Also check to see if your area has any sick care providers.  In our area, there are several daycares that just provide care to sick children.  Sure, many parents wish that they could be home with their child when he or she is sick, but it isn’t always possible. 

Check with family and friends and ask if they would be willing to take your child when he or she is sick.  I have several friends with parents who were not willing or able to take on care full time of their grandchildren so that their child could work. However, most of the parents did offer to help in an emergency situation. 

Check with your mate or significant other to see how willing they are to assist with sick day duty.  If you are a single parent, this may not be an option for you however.  I know one couple that actually divided up sick day duties according to illness.  She took off of work for the “stomach bugs” and he took off of work for “colds and ear infections”.  What a creative way to handle the issue!

Some employers are very flexible and some are not in dealing with sick kid days.  I have known women who were fired when their child got very sick and needed to be hospitalized because it meant that they needed to have extended time off from work.  It shouldn’t happen, but it does.  It’s best to check with your co-workers when you are new to a job and ask how they have handled situations in the past.  How has management dealt with sick days?

In my case, I was working in the health care field when I got pregnant with my first child.  I had a difficult pregnancy and was on bedrest on and off.  I was put on disciplinary action because of my frequent illnesses, even though I did have sick time available and even though I had a doctor’s note.

When my child was born, I was offered a placement for her at the company daycare.  It was convenient, but I realized that I would have to look for another job.  I knew that she would need frequent medical intervention and I had limited help from my family.  I would not be able to take the time off of work to deal with the many health situations which I anticipated would happen. I knew that if I took off so much from work, that I would be put on disciplinary action and after so many actions, I would be fired.

I began to look for another job while on maternity leave and found a more family friendly job with a great employer in a totally different line of work.  Although I was sad to leave my former employer, I realized that I had no choice.

As the health issues began to get more complex to deal with, I got a job where I could telecommute and worked around my children’s therapy and doctor appointment schedules.  It was exhausting, but the only option I had.  I now do my most productive work during my son’s nap time! 

I think that flexibility is an important key when balancing work and family responsibilities.  Hopefully, you have either a very understanding employer or a very helpful family!  If not, you will have to do some work preparing a family care plan that will work when your child is ill.  If your child has major health issues, this may mean finding a flexible family friendly employer who offers such benefits as flex time and telecommuting. That way, you can take care of both your family and work obligations.

 

Every working parent will one day have to deal with “the sick child crisis”.  Hopefully, you’ve planned ahead of time for this inevitable event.  If not, it’s best to begin now.

In many families, both parents need to work and the children need to go to daycare during the day, or before and after school while their parents are at work.  Most days, the routine goes off without a hitch.  Then, a child gets ill and can not go to daycare.  What now?

Check with your daycare provider to find out their rules on attendance and their illness policies. Will your child need a note from a doctor to be allowed back to daycare?  Also check to see if your area has any sick care providers.  In our area, there are several daycares that just provide care to sick children.  Sure, many parents wish that they could be home with their child when he or she is sick, but it isn’t always possible. 

Check with family and friends and ask if they would be willing to take your child when he or she is sick.  I have several friends with parents who were not willing or able to take on care full time of their grandchildren so that their child could work. However, most of the parents did offer to help in an emergency situation. 

Check with your mate or significant other to see how willing they are to assist with sick day duty.  If you are a single parent, this may not be an option for you however.  I know one couple that actually divided up sick day duties according to illness.  She took off of work for the “stomach bugs” and he took off of work for “colds and ear infections”.  What a creative way to handle the issue!

Some employers are very flexible and some are not in dealing with sick kid days.  I have known women who were fired when their child got very sick and needed to be hospitalized because it meant that they needed to have extended time off from work.  It shouldn’t happen, but it does.  It’s best to check with your co-workers when you are new to a job and ask how they have handled situations in the past.  How has management dealt with sick days?

In my case, I was working in the health care field when I got pregnant with my first child.  I had a difficult pregnancy and was on bedrest on and off.  I was put on disciplinary action because of my frequent illnesses, even though I did have sick time available and even though I had a doctor’s note.

When my child was born, I was offered a placement for her at the company daycare.  It was convenient, but I realized that I would have to look for another job.  I knew that she would need frequent medical intervention and I had limited help from my family.  I would not be able to take the time off of work to deal with the many health situations which I anticipated would happen. I knew that if I took off so much from work, that I would be put on disciplinary action and after so many actions, I would be fired.

I began to look for another job while on maternity leave and found a more family friendly job with a great employer in a totally different line of work.  Although I was sad to leave my former employer, I realized that I had no choice.

As the health issues began to get more complex to deal with, I got a job where I could telecommute and worked around my children’s therapy and doctor appointment schedules.  It was exhausting, but the only option I had.  I now do my most productive work during my son’s nap time! 

I think that flexibility is an important key when balancing work and family responsibilities.  Hopefully, you have either a very understanding employer or a very helpful family!  If not, you will have to do some work preparing a family care plan that will work when your child is ill.  If your child has major health issues, this may mean finding a flexible family friendly employer who offers such benefits as flex time and telecommuting. That way, you can take care of both your family and work obligations.

Every working parent will one day have to deal with “the sick child crisis”.  Hopefully, you’ve planned ahead of time for this inevitable event.  If not, it’s best to begin now.

In many families, both parents need to work and the children need to go to daycare during the day, or before and after school while their parents are at work.  Most days, the routine goes off without a hitch.  Then, a child gets ill and can not go to daycare.  What now?

Check with your daycare provider to find out their rules on attendance and their illness policies. Will your child need a note from a doctor to be allowed back to daycare?  Also check to see if your area has any sick care providers.  In our area, there are several daycares that just provide care to sick children.  Sure, many parents wish that they could be home with their child when he or she is sick, but it isn’t always possible. 

Check with family and friends and ask if they would be willing to take your child when he or she is sick.  I have several friends with parents who were not willing or able to take on care full time of their grandchildren so that their child could work. However, most of the parents did offer to help in an emergency situation. 

Check with your mate or significant other to see how willing they are to assist with sick day duty.  If you are a single parent, this may not be an option for you however.  I know one couple that actually divided up sick day duties according to illness.  She took off of work for the “stomach bugs” and he took off of work for “colds and ear infections”.  What a creative way to handle the issue!

Some employers are very flexible and some are not in dealing with sick kid days.  I have known women who were fired when their child got very sick and needed to be hospitalized because it meant that they needed to have extended time off from work.  It shouldn’t happen, but it does.  It’s best to check with your co-workers when you are new to a job and ask how they have handled situations in the past.  How has management dealt with sick days?

In my case, I was working in the health care field when I got pregnant with my first child.  I had a difficult pregnancy and was on bedrest on and off.  I was put on disciplinary action because of my frequent illnesses, even though I did have sick time available and even though I had a doctor’s note.

When my child was born, I was offered a placement for her at the company daycare.  It was convenient, but I realized that I would have to look for another job.  I knew that she would need frequent medical intervention and I had limited help from my family.  I would not be able to take the time off of work to deal with the many health situations which I anticipated would happen. I knew that if I took off so much from work, that I would be put on disciplinary action and after so many actions, I would be fired.

I began to look for another job while on maternity leave and found a more family friendly job with a great employer in a totally different line of work.  Although I was sad to leave my former employer, I realized that I had no choice.

As the health issues began to get more complex to deal with, I got a job where I could telecommute and worked around my children’s therapy and doctor appointment schedules.  It was exhausting, but the only option I had.  I now do my most productive work during my son’s nap time! 

I think that flexibility is an important key when balancing work and family responsibilities.  Hopefully, you have either a very understanding employer or a very helpful family!  If not, you will have to do some work preparing a family care plan that will work when your child is ill.  If your child has major health issues, this may mean finding a flexible family friendly employer who offers such benefits as flex time and telecommuting. That way, you can take care of both your family and work obligations.

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