By Miriam Rossow
“Mom, I don’t feel good.” “Mom, my stomach hurts.” Can you hear the pathetic, whiny voice of your child saying this? I heard it from three different children this week! And so the decision has to be made; are they too sick to go to school?
This is a problem every parent deals with at some point, and it is such a difficult decision to make. Some parents are very cautious for their children and others and keep their child home for everything. Others are not as cautious or may not have the luxury of keeping children home and so send their kids to school. I fall right in the middle.
As a stay-at-home mom, I generally do not have anything that would not allow me to keep my child home. However, I am not an overly cautious person, and sometimes wonder if the sickness is not just in my child’s head. And so I ponder over and over whether they are too sick to go to school. I often feel guilty when I do send them and they don’t feel well, and I feel guilty when I don’t send them and they bounce around the house!
I have begun to realize that some of this attitude comes from our lifestyle of buck up and work through the pain. As a mom, I do not get days off; most people who work outside of the home get a limited amount of sick days and so have to choose very wisely when and how they will use them. So shouldn’t we teach our children how to deal with what life brings? You can’t always rest and quit. We value hard work and endurance, and we want our children to learn this also.
It is good to learn hard work, perseverance, and endurance. It is good to learn that you can’t just quit when it gets too hard. These are good and helpful lessons.
I am starting to think, however, that sickness may not be the place to learn these things. Rest is a good thing to learn how to do and we do not do a very good job of teaching our children this lesson. We fill our calendars, and even when our calendars are not full of activities, we still find ways to keep ourselves very busy. Rest is not something we know how to do.
And so instead of feeling guilty that my child has missed three days of school, I will see this as an opportunity to teach rest. We will take naps, read books, take baths, play games, and just lay around. We will wait on the healing and know that the lessons missed in school can be learned still and be thankful to God for a lesson in rest and time together!
Here are some activities you can do while your child and maybe you get the needed rest to get healthy!
1. Read and tell Bible stories.
2. Read a chapter book together.
3. Listen to a book on tape.
4. Play board/card games together.
5. Take a nap!
6. Make and Play with play dough.
7. Build a ‘sick fort’.
8. Watch a movie in your fort.
9. Take a bubble bath.
10. Write a letter to a relative or friend.
What do you do with a sick child at home?