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Sick Little Munchkins

Me and My Munchkin: Sick Little Munchkins

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Sick Little Munchkins

I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed a few days ago, and came across an interesting post. It was a reader question from The Imperfect Mum. You can visit the Facebook page here.

The question basically outlined "sick child etiquette". The poster had asked whether it was acceptable for her to cancel on her friends at the last minute and not babysit their children if they were sick, as she didn't want the germs in her house.

As you can imagine, there was an array of responses, ranging from "you did exactly what I would do" to "I think you were a bit extreme in these circumstances" to the rather unhelpful "you're a terrible friend and a complete bitch".

So it got me thinking, when is it acceptable to ask your friends to catch up for a playdate, or babysit your children when they are sick?

My sick little Munchkin
I am a mother that likes my child home with me when he is sick. Especially if it's asthma-related. Most of the time, if Master A is sick, he won't even go to his dad's house for the day. If it's only a cold and a bit of a cough, he will go, otherwise he stays home with me.

What about playdates?

I will always disclose if Master is or has been sick in the last week, and allow the other parent to make the decision if they still want to attend the playdate with us. However, this is only if it's a cold, mild asthma or a bit of a teething fever. Anything along the lines of gastro, the flu, a more severe bout of asthma or tonsillitis and I cancel altogether. I don't want to spread our germs and make others sick.

Unfortunately I am not always offered the same courtesy. I can't even count the amount of times we have turned up for a playdate and found out that everyone in the house is sick. Of course I don't want to look rude by turning around and leaving, however I do wish that I was told before we got there.

This seems to be a very personal issue, with opinions varying from person to person. Some people would rather expose their children to illness in hopes of building their immune system, others saying simply that kids will get sick anywhere. Then some saying they try to keep out of contact with sick people to prevent their children getting sick.

Me? I make an informed decision at the time. How sick is the person? What is it they have? Is the illness overly contagious and also what are my plans like for the next week. Do we have a full week coming up that neither of us can afford to get sick? If so then better to be safe than sorry.

No I can't stop my child from getting sick, but I can help to prevent it, and that is what I will do.

What do you do when your child is sick?
Do you send them to daycare or take them on playdates?
Have you ever turned up to a playdate to find the other child sick?

Linking up with the lovely Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBOT

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At 2 October 2012 at 09:36 , Blogger Mrs BC said...

I'm with you - if it is just a sniffle, the play date continues, but anything worse, the playdate is cancelled. I do wish people would extend the same courtesy, this is our childrens health!

At 2 October 2012 at 09:49 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the same as you. My daughter is sick atm. Off to the drs this morning and the plans I had for today and tomorrow cancelled. Thursday and possibly friday cancelled too. I normally stick close to home with my daughter when she's ill. If its just a slight runny nose from teething we more often then not don't cancel but if its obvious she is sick we do! It's funny because sometimes after we catch up with someone once my daughter is better and I say to the other mum how she's been sick and i've kept her at home and she's better now, the other child has a runny nose atm. I think to myself, this mum obviously does not care that there child is sick and to cancel playdates etc. I met up with one mum about a month or 2 ago and luckily it was for a walk so our toddlers were in prams but her kid was very ill. A runny nose (both sides) that just sat there the entire time! I made that catch up rather short as it annoys me so much everyone bringing there sick kids out everywhere. This winter my daughter seems to have been sick more times then healthy. I know everyone says its builds up there immune systems but I too try to protect my daughter from sickness as best i can. If it happens it happens but she doesnt need to always be around it. For the same reason I don't put her in child care or creches.

At 2 October 2012 at 12:09 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

I wish that others would too! Even if they are just coming to the end and getting over a cold. Chances are I will still say lets catch up, but I'd like to know!

I do however think that sometimes it's more about the mother feeling lonely and isolated, and wanting to get out there with other adults.
Chrissie xx

At 2 October 2012 at 12:11 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

Master A is in daycare, and has been since he was 3 months old. He has caught things from there but unfortunately when I was working, there wasn't much choice! I have him on pro-biotics now, which I was a little wary of at first, but they have made a tremendous difference to his health in the last 6 months so they must be doing good!
Chrissie xx

At 2 October 2012 at 14:33 , Blogger Grace said...

I think it's really, REALLY important to disclose if your child has been sick. It's a tough one though, because if I see a parent who has let their obviously sick, coughy spluttery child come to playgroup or the playground, I get mad but I don't want to get judgmental.
Thing is, we are also super, super vigilant because our boys were premmie babies and it's always in our mind to be courteous to others when they're sick and whether they should go on playdates or not.

At 2 October 2012 at 15:22 , Blogger Yvette Bowyer said...

we've been sick on and off in this household for about 3 months now.. and everytime I arrange a playdate.. I cancel it if they are sick... common courtesy... I will even msg them to say they are all better now.. how about we rearrange for another day...


At 2 October 2012 at 16:24 , Anonymous Zanni, Heart Mama said...

I think it's important to keep your child home if they are sick. For them, and for others. There seems to be so many illnesses these days, they are often hard to avoid, but if you can it's worth it.
Friends of mine are pretty good, and have the courtesy to ring and let you know if their child is a bit snotty and you have arranged a play date. Initially I was always relaxed with it, and said to bring them along. But Elka was sick so many times in a row, and developed bronchitis several times, I realised that my need to be social was being put before her health. She really suffered. So I am much more cautious now.

At 2 October 2012 at 16:32 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

I feel the same way with daycare. I hate when I drop Master A off and I can see children there that are clearly sick. Really pushes my buttons!
Master A was premmie too, so know exactly what you mean.
Chrissie xx

At 2 October 2012 at 16:33 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

I think it sounds like most people do the same thing. Unfortunately I don't always get offered that courtesy!
Chrissie xx

At 2 October 2012 at 16:33 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

It really is a personal judgement call isn't it? I don't mind a bit of a snotty nose, but much more than that and I get a bit hesitant.
Chrissie xx

At 2 October 2012 at 17:59 , Blogger Lydia C. Lee said...


At 2 October 2012 at 18:10 , Blogger Lydia C. Lee said...

Have to say I dont worry about it unless itS Chickwn pox or swine flu or the ilk but I do ring and let other people know if it's my kid who's the sick it isn't my call to make for them.

At 2 October 2012 at 20:18 , Blogger Kelly HTandT said...

I understand that kids WILL get sick and that we can't really help that, but unless it's just a sniffle then I cancel, and I expect the same courtesy. Either hubby or I stays with the kids if they're unwell. Most people we socialise with are the same, but there is one little girl that my boys go to childcare with and she is ALWAYS turning up sick, it drives me CRAZY. Just last week she had a shocking chesty cough and was coughing all over my 2.5yr old, very annoying. Very rude. Of the parents of course, the poor girl didn't know any better. xx

At 2 October 2012 at 20:19 , Anonymous Workingwomenaus said...

I was surprised when watching Sunrise recently where they were interviewing a lady who had written a book about taking your children to childcare when sick. Ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, a runny nose is nothing to worry about, but anything else should be kept home. I'm a working mum and it is so selfish for others to send their sick kids to playmates and childcare.

At 2 October 2012 at 21:34 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't think I'd care until we spent most of winter wiping my daughters nose and nursing her through temperatures. When we found out that a friends child was sick and they brought her over anyway we were livid! At least give us the opportunity to decide if we want to roll the dice on another cold.

At 3 October 2012 at 09:18 , Blogger Jess@Diary of a SAHM said...

Im with pretty much everyone else. A bit of a cold, and I'll let it go, but anything else, and we stay home. I wouldn't dream of asking someone else who had kids to watch my sick kids for me. That wouldn't be fair on anyone, including the child!

I think it gets harder when they are in school, to make the judgement call. Some coughs and colds can go on for weeks, and it's not feasible to keep them home all that time, but then you don't want them passing it on. I just try and teach my older children about personal hygiene, and asses on any given day, just how unwell they are.

At 3 October 2012 at 09:46 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My boy was sick the other day, and I mean he literally vomited all over me just as we were walking out the door to take him to daycare so I could go to work. I called my childless boss, who wasn't working that day, and her response was that she would get such n such to start earlier and if I could get there in an hours time...1 hour! You know, after i clean up the mess and brush it of like it never happened...yeah right! Unfortunately she didn't understand the savrity of, 1 - sending a sick child to daycare to be amongst other 'healthy' kids and, 2 - the fact that my sick child needed his mother. I was just lucky that my mother was home on holidays from work. Being a working mum is so damn implicated sometimes! What do you do!!

At 3 October 2012 at 10:14 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops, 'complicated' that is meant to say ;)

At 3 October 2012 at 12:01 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

Some parents don't really understand. Master A has asthma, so a lot of the time my friends aren't too fussed about catching up if that's all it is, and it's only mild. I can imagine you wouldn't have been impressed, I would be fuming too!
Chrissie xx

At 3 October 2012 at 12:02 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

I agree, if they pass it on, 5 or so other mums may need to take time off work. We recently had an outbreak of a virus in our under 2s section of daycare. A little boy got dropped off with the rash all over him! I was shocked that the parents didn't think and sent him anyway.
Chrissie xx

At 3 October 2012 at 12:03 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

I agree. I'm finding it's happening to me more and more now. Not so much with close friends, but certainly when I'm just organising a random play date.
Chrissie xx

At 3 October 2012 at 12:05 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

Older children are good in that they can understand a little better about hygiene and taking steps to prevent getting sick. Master A could have a lingering cough after an asthma attack or cold for weeks or even sometimes a month or so, and I will tell my friends that this is the case, and give them the option.

At 3 October 2012 at 12:07 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

Aww you poor thing! My old boss was a man with a stay at home mum for a wife, so didn't understand the whole need to take time off to look after the kids either. It makes all the difference when you don't have understanding employers.
Chrissie xx

At 3 October 2012 at 21:36 , Blogger Tubbah @ Organising: My Crazy Life said...

I'm exactly the same as you. I'll let friends know if my kids are sick so the decision is theirs. Most of the time they do the same.

At 5 October 2012 at 06:37 , Blogger Chrissie Me and My Munchkin said...

I think it's just the right thing to do!
Chrissie xx


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