Chucking a sickie.

So, there’s fever & boogers in our house. What does this mean for school?

It depends who is sick.

If the students are sick:

  • We look after their condition. The most important thing is helping them be comfortable and get well.
  • Between naps, we scale school back to a bare minimum. A little Miquon maths, copying something into the day book, watching a documentary, playing an app, listening to Storynory.com.
  • Story time. We read books (aloud) that fit with the things we are learning about. Generally, we’d leave the activities until our student is well again.

If the parent is ill:

  • Get up, shower, dress, make breakfast, pack “school lunches” including drink bottles, medicate as appropriate.
  • Explain to the children why things will be different today and what they will need to do. “My throat hurts, I need to not do much talking today, and I’ll need a nap. I need you to do school by yourself, get each other a snack, and play quietly”.
  • Write a checklist if there are tasks that need done. Explain each item to the children. My list for Robin would generally include: 1 page Maths, read 2 picture books to Wren, answer 1 question in your journal, report back to me. Wren’s list would be 3 activities I’m happy for her to do unsupervised and that will keep her from distracting Robin while he does school (eg: drawing/colouring in with pencils, playing play-dough, building with magnet blocks).
  • Lie on lounge – direct as required.
  • Children sort out their own drinks, snacks and lunch from the lunch boxes made up at breakfast time, and whatever they’re usually allowed to help themselves to (at our house that would be fruit, vegetables, sandwiches, milk, water, cheese, crackers and nuts).
  • Get set up for a faux-nap. Put dinner in the slow cooker. Choose the longest DVD that engages your children. At our house that would be Fantasia (2hrs+). I play it on the lounge room TV, where I’m bedded in on the couch, and (here’s the wild part) I let the children bring some of their more precious toys *into the lounge room* too. This may not work so well if the kids were routinely allowed to bring their stuff into the “grown up” space, your milage will vary. For us, the combination of something on a screen (not too loud though) and precious toys keeps them in a kind of awed state, quiet but engaged. They still play, dance and sing along, but I get to doze enough that I can get through the dinner and bedtime routine.
  • After a faux-nap, we all go outside, the children play and I drink tea.
  • If Husband-of-Awesome is available after work, I dump everything on him and go to bed.
  • If Husband-of-Awesome is travelling for work, the children get dinner as late as I can manage (but generally earlier than usual), and we all go to bed early. The children get the added bonus of being able to read/look at books/listen to audio books until they run out of light, so they don’t feel too badly about the earlier bedtime.
  • If I’m sick more than one day in a row, I’ll attempt to run the activities from the children’s sick-day plan, while lying on the lounge, as they just don’t need to watch that much TV.
  • Congratulations! The children have managed practically by themselves, and you nearly got a nap. Hope you’re feeling better by the morning.

It bears saying that my children are 4.5 and 6.5yrs, and have been pretty well trained into our sick-day routine, and our kitchen rules. Until Robin was 3, and Wren was 1, they both took day naps, so if I was unwell, Robin watched Fantasia/Planet Earth/David Attenborough during Wren’s morning nap and we all napped in the afternoon. They pretty well played play-dough the rest of the day and I dragged myself off the couch for snacks and pitstops. Once they were both out of naps, we started training them into the routine above for those days when I would have called in sick to work (in the days before children, when I worked for someone else). It’s so much easier now they’re bigger.

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