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Is it okay to let your kids “pull a sickie”?

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?

1 Headache or Stomach Ache (no fever or vomiting) Instruct learner to have some water (often dehydration causes headache or stomach ache) Observe for an hour. If learner is still in discomfort telephonically enquire from parent if medication may be administered. Should the headache or stomach escalate parent will be requested to collect.
2 Headache or Stomach Ache with fever Contact parent requesting permission to administer medication if possible. Observe for 1 – 2 hours. If learner is still uncomfortable, contact parent to collect learner.
3. Headache   and/or Stomach and vomiting Contact parent to collect the learner. Not applicable
4. Feeling faint / light headed Instruct learner to have some water & lay learner down with feet elevated above hip / chest height. Observe for an hour. If learner is still in discomfort telephonically inform parent of the observation and action. Request learner to be collected.
5. Fainting Contact Parent immediately. Make learner comfortable and offer liquids while waiting for parent.
6. Light injuries (Scrapes & grazes) Clean wound and administer plaster if necessary Inform parent of incident via message book or phone
7. Moderate injuries: Cuts Clean wound & put on plaster.  Telephonically inform parent immediately after incident.
8. Moderate Injuries: Head bumps, falls off equipment, etc. Check learner’s mobility and observe movement. Make learner comfortable if distraught and or in pain. Immediately contact parent and inform of observations.
9. Severe injuries Call Paramedics and parents. Stay in contact with parent.
10. Head lice Keep learner aside from other children. Contact parent to collect learner.



Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications

Beverley Houston / 021 447 1082 / 082 824 8617

On behalf of Riverside College

Director: Elana Edwards

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