a blog about parenting, home daycare, adoption and life in general.
Home Daycare

When To Keep Your Child Home From Daycare

It happens.  Kids have impeccable timing.  They get sick on the one day this week that you have that big meeting with the head of the company.  And the question goes through your mind: Are they too sick for daycare?  Or will they be alright if I take them anyway?

When To Keep Your Child Home From Daycare

Your daycare likely has a sick child policy.  Pull it out and take a closer look at it.  But here are a few situations that are pretty common across the board:

  • a fever higher than 100F
  • a nose running with mucus that’s not clear
  • any unexplained or contagious rash
  • constant coughing or wheezing that isn’t controlled with an inhaler
  • vomiting or diarrhea within the last 12-24 hours
  • anything that impedes your child’s participation in the program, unless approved by the provider (lethargy, injury, etc)
  • and of course, any other reason specified in your daycare’s handbook (eg. lice)

Believe me, I know what it’s like to work at a job that doesn’t provide sick days and that doesn’t pay salary.  I know what it’s like to have to stay home when a huge project is due or when you need that day’s pay to make ends meet.

Here’s the thing though – keeping your child home for that one day is much better than passing that sickness around the daycare (meaning your child will be exposed to it again and again), and possibly even making your daycare provider sick.  If your child goes to a home daycare, that means that your daycare provider may even have to close the daycare.  Both of those scenarios may result in you needing to take even more days off of work.  So it’s worth it to keep your child home when they’re sick.

Now you may be thinking this: if I give my child Tylenol, it’ll bring down his fever for a few hours.  I can drop him off at daycare, run into the office, get the important things done, and take him back home when the Tylenol wears off.

Tylenol is an amazing thing, but it can’t take away the contagiousness of a sickness.  Even if your child’s symptoms are masked, they can still pass the germs onto the others around them.  In which case, you’re back to possibly having to take even more days off.  And most children prefer to be at home, on their own couch with their own stuffies and blankets when they’re under the weather anyway.

When in doubt, call your daycare as soon as possible and ask about your situation.

What do you do when your children are sick and need to stay home from daycare or school?

Article written by:

Megan is a WAHM to 3 (and then some) kids, who spends the majority of her time working as an Administrative Assistant, blogging and washing dishes. She loves to write about her adventures in parenting, running a home daycare, adoption and whatever else strikes her fancy!


  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    At our schools, ANY fever and they need to be kept home. I know a lot of parents don’t think, but this SHOULD be common sense.

  2. Jeanette

    I wish more mom’s would think this way. Just because the meds brought the fever down does not make him better, just less feverish!
    Go check out Jeanette’s latest post! Busy School Mornings Simplified: A Mom’s GuideMy Profile

  3. lisa

    When my kids were in daycare I always went by when in doubt, keep them home. I would think about the other families and how I would feel if they sent their kids in sick. Plus I know my kids love to be in bed and snuggled when they don’t feel good.
    Go check out lisa’s latest post! Earn Money With QmeeMy Profile

  4. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle

    I kept my kids home when they had a fever or any symptoms that weren’t going away. It was for them as much as it was for the other kids.
    Go check out Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle’s latest post! Chicken Salad Cucumber Cups RecipeMy Profile

  5. Ourfamilyworld

    These are great tips. I don’t send my kids to school whenever I notice these signs. They are better off resting at home than spreading the virus.
    Go check out Ourfamilyworld’s latest post! Best Family Friendly Things To Do In TorontoMy Profile

  6. Chubskulit Rose

    I kep my kids at home when they are sic or showing signs of sicknes because I don’t want other kids to get sick to. Other parents just think about how it will .affect others and it also affect the performance of the kids.
    Go check out Chubskulit Rose’s latest post! Monorail Ride at Hershey ParkMy Profile

  7. Jeanine

    Great tips. This applies for school too. I wish more people would follow this though, sadly they don’t seem to!

  8. Annemarie LeBlanc

    I always go by the thought that, what if you were running a fever or not feeling well, would you want to be rushed out of the house to go to work? If adults opt to stay home when they are under the weather, then it is a wise decision to practice the same for kids.
    Go check out Annemarie LeBlanc’s latest post! Travel Cheap Year Round With These TipsMy Profile

  9. Susan Quackenbush

    I remember having to switch my boys between several daycare facilities because they had such awful policies regarding ill children. I eventually had to hire a private sitter but am really glad I did. Thank you for sharing this wonderful information! 🙂
    Go check out Susan Quackenbush’s latest post! Help Support Your Infant’s Digestive Health With Enfamil® Reguline™My Profile

  10. HilLesha

    My son goes to a good school, but I wish they were more about sicknesses. My son never got sick a day in his life until he started kindergarten. He’s now in the 4th grade, and my family and I always get sick back-to-back throughout the school year. 🙁
    Go check out HilLesha’s latest post! Infuse Your Day with Flavor with Dasani DropsMy Profile

  11. Lynndee

    I think it’s a given that when your child is sick, you’re not supposed to send him/her to school to prevent the other kids from getting sick. It’s always been like that here.
    Go check out Lynndee’s latest post! Roasted Brussels SproutsMy Profile

  12. Bonnie @wemake7

    I work from home so luckily there is no daycare for us but there is school. If in doubt they stay home with me. Got to love school though. We just started here and everyone already got sick.

  13. Ann B

    I was lucky to work from home. When the kids were sick i was able to take care of them and still work. These are great tips. I will share them with my friend. Her Daughter is just going into daycare.

  14. Mimi "MimiCuteLips" Green

    You would think this was a no brainer for parents. My daughter just started Daycare and I am trying to toughen up her system so she doesn’t get sick from the other kids.
    Go check out Mimi “MimiCuteLips” Green’s latest post! First Day of Daycare an interview with a toddlerMy Profile

  15. Krystal

    My son was sick a LOT When we went to daycare. We called in sick a lot as a result. It was a trying time for all.
    Go check out Krystal’s latest post! Blog Marketing: Use Facebook to Grow Your BlogMy Profile

  16. Tiffany @ Daily Leisure

    I wish every parent would read this. My children stayed home with me (we went to play group, museums, library, gymnastics, sports, etc. , but they were not in formal school until Kindergarten), and my son was out over 10 times his kindergarten year because people sent their kids to school sick and he got sick! I HATED IT. if your child looks miserable, I just don’t understand sending them away for 8 hours!
    Go check out Tiffany @ Daily Leisure’s latest post! Destination Wedding Survival KitMy Profile

  17. Bradley Finnearty

    These are really great pieces of advice for everyone who has young children. Parents need to think about the health of other children as much as their own.
    Go check out Bradley Finnearty’s latest post! How do you Market a Southeastern Ohio Small Business?My Profile

  18. Kiwi

    To be honest I was the child that couldnt stay at home unless it was an extreme emergency…my mom worked from home with her own home daycare. People send their children to daycare sick though?? Kinda dangerous but it does suck when you have a corporate job and have to use your own sick day for your kids. I will be living this freelance life so I will never have to make the decision to let my sick child continue to go to daycare because I dont have enough sick days…I will never.
    Go check out Kiwi’s latest post! Music Media | Meet Avery Wilson (From Vine to Shine)My Profile

Comments are now closed.