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How to Survive Your Kids' Sick Days

Plan Ahead for Those Inevitable Sick Days

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A father taking his daughter's temperature.

Planning ahead makes sick days easier on both of you.

Photo © Tim Hawley/Getty Images
At some point, your child will get sick and need to come home from school early or stay home all day. What will you do? Here are some tips to help you plan ahead for those inevitable (and, at times, inconvenient) sick days:
  1. Prepare a set of emergency instructions to keep on your desk at work. Are there parts of your job that only you can do? Leave a set of clearly-written instructions at your desk so that your co-workers would be able to step in on a moment's notice and accomplish those things that absolutely must get done. In most cases, while your necessary absence may still be inconvenient, your employer will appreciate your effort to plan for those tasks that can not wait for your return.

    More: Discuss Emergency Childcare With Your Employer

  2. Make sure that your child's school has accurate contact information at all times. This includes your work number and your cell phone number. In addition, be in the practice of keeping your cell phone on and accessible so that you can be reached in emergencies. You should also store all of your contact information in your child's backpack, as well.

    More: Print an Emergency Contact Form

  3. Maintain an updated list of back-up child care options. In the event that you were not available to pick up your child from school during the day, who would you send in your place? Don't just record that person's phone number on the school's emergency contact form; work out a plan with that person for how the situation would be handled. Would they care for your child in their home or yours? Would they need a house key, and would your child need a car seat? Work through these details in advance so that when emergencies happen, you both know what to expect.

    More: Ten Backup Providers for Single Parents

  4. Stock up. Make a list of the supplies you generally need to have on hand for sick days, such as children's fever-reducing medicines, tissues, coloring books, and your kids' favorite magazines. This way, when unexpected sick days do happen, you won't have the added task of needing to run out to the store at the last minute.

    More: Stay Healthy Through Your Kids' Sick Days

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