Coping with Work and a Sick Child when living away from your Hometown

Coping with work and a sick child - Parenting Resources by ZenParent

Picture this. You wake up in the morning; you’ve put on a pot of fresh coffee and  you’re mentally going over all the pending tasks to be done at work in order to meet an important deadline. Out walks your child sniffling and looking feverish. Now what? Send him to school? Take half a day off? How do you deal with this situation without creating too much havoc? Here are 5 tips to cope with the flu season (and more) without disrupting much –

1. Plan ahead

This is key for being able to take time off work or have flexible hours. Save up “sick days” if possible and look into company policies to assist a sick child through a non-life threatening though long illness (eg. Chickenpox). Consider finishing up tasks before 2 pm to be able to share responsibility with the spouse to take care of the child at home. Discuss this with your manager in advance for when the need should arise. Some workplaces are tolerant and some aren’t and if you’ve got no extended family around, this is vital to know and work with.

2. If your job isn’t flexible, your Day care / nanny should be

This is particularly relevant to younger kids who go to Day Care or playschools. Since many day care centers encourage a sick child to stay at home, you would need to figure out an alternative like a home-based caregiver for sick days in particular.

3. Enlist help of friends and neighbors

Your friends are the family you choose for yourself. And nothing is greater than the cliché of the friend in need is a friend indeed. Enlist the help of some close friends who live nearby who can pick up your kids when you can’t. Or to help with an older child (play dates, sleepovers, etc.) when another is sick. And return the favor when you can.

4. Prevention is better than cure

Easier said than done but it makes good hygiene to wash hands regularly, sneeze into your sleeve, cough with a tissue, gargle every night and so on. You can’t prevent all illnesses but you can certainly nip many in the bud by healthy eating and good hygiene.

5. Be a parent when it’s needed most

This might be a shocker but many working parents admit that their first thought when the kid gets ill, is all about rearranging those conference calls, the deadlines and more often than not, annoyance. But remember, your child didn’t want to get sick. So as inconvenient as it may be, put work out of your head and be nurturing and understanding of the fussiness that comes with a child’s sickness. You don’t want him to feel like a burden when he’s got you grounded for no real fault of his. After all, the sickness will ride out but your attitude to them will leave an imprint.

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