Is it okay for kids to take a 'sick day'?
Should kids be allowed to take a day off from school or does it encourage bad habits?
sick child (Shutterstock)
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When you know that your child’s minor sniffle could actually cope with a day at school, is it really that big of a deal to allow them a free pass? The jury is out, with some suggesting that down time after a “massive”, fun-filled, active weekend is okay and others seeing it as the start of a long-term bad habit that will get carried into adulthood.
 
"The problem with allowing a 'sick day' is that new concepts explained in class are missed when a child is absent; this immediately puts them at a disadvantage - the stress of being left behind is just not worth it," says Lynne Arbuckle, primary school principal at Burgundy Estate’s Riverside College.

"We understand that everyone needs a bit of down time, however when sick leave is not legitimate, it could set up long-term behavioural patterns around commitment, responsibility and work ethic," Arbuckle says. "Habits are mapped out from an early age, if bunking is encouraged, the chances are this will be repeated in an adult’s work environment. Very few bosses will tolerate a serial absentee."

A study commissioned by Australia’s New South Wales Commission for Children and Young people revealed that 60% of children surveyed stated they were not able to do the things they wanted to do after school. On average, children aged between 9 to 15 years had 3.7 after school activities during the course of their week. When asked what they'd rather be doing, the children surveyed said they'd like more time for running around, playing with friends, hanging out and just relaxing.

"We live in an environment of constant activity and often forget or don’t know how to relax. Children need to have down time; they simply cannot keep up at the constant pace that we set for ourselves. This does not mean however, that down time should eat into school time. Parents need to take responsibility and make relaxation a part of their weekend; turn off the TV, read a book, play outside, just chill," Lynne advises.  
 
When is it okay to allow your child to stay at home?

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Do you let your children take days off from school even if they're not ill?

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