That helpless feeling when you don’t know what to do anymore because your child is ALWAYS sick at daycare. I have been there. Feeling so guilty as I wanted to be with my child. Guilty because of all the days I had to take off from work.
Our eldest started daycare at 15 months, for a year she was always sick!
Our lives consisted out of an endless stream of ear infections, low-grade fevers, tummy bugs and at the end she also had hand foot and mouth disease. You name it; we have seen it all! I use to refer to her as ‘Patient ZERO’ because she was sick so often, and she infected us and her friends sick too.
Although illness during the first year at daycare is a reality, there are ways to reduce their occurrence.
Daycares are the perfect breeding ground for germs. You have little hands touching everything and sneezing and coughing all over each other.
Research suggests that children who attend daycare settings get less sick when they are older. However, this fact provides little solace when you are running out of family responsibility leave days, and the doctors’ bills are piling up.
RELATED: Leaving Your Baby At Daycare For The First Time: Top Tips for Mom and Baby
Here are 5 Tips When Your Child Is Always Sick At Daycare
1. Hand washing
Get back to basics and teach your child to wash hands. If your child is little, you can do it for them and also start modelling the behaviour. Also, mention it to your caregiver that they should assist your child if need be.
TIP: check if there are hand washing basins at various locations within the daycare. Example, a basin in the vicinity of the changing station is a MUST. Read further on Dettol’s tips on how to encourage hand washing to protect your family.
2. Fill up their sleep tank
Ensure your child gets as much rest as they need, herewith a sleep needs chart to check how many hours roughly per day our child needs. By having their ‘sleep tank’ full they are in a better position to fight off illnesses. A tired child is more susceptible to falling sick.
RELATED: Mommy, Please May I Sleep In Your Bed? Why I Am Okay To Say Yes to My 4 Year Old
3. Eating Fruits and Vegetables (Plus Vitamins and Immune Boosters)
Encourage your child to eat a healthy balanced diet. Herewith a useful article from Food Lover’s Market, on creative ways to encourage kids to eat vegetables. A daily vitamin is an excellent way to boost their intake, although ideally, they should obtain most of their nutrients from their food.
In some cases, immune boosters may be needed. Discuss an immune booster with your doctor.
I conducted an informal poll on my Instagram Stories and seven of the parents who commented back advised that they do provide their child with some form of immune boosters and or vitamins. However, the visits to the doctors’ rooms were still high.
4. All sick policies are not equal
My eldest who is now four years old attended two daycare facilities. The first one accepted all levels of sickness and were lax about sending kids home who was ill. The relaxed approach meant that kids tended to get sick a lot more. The second daycare had a stricter policy, and they would call you to fetch your child even if they had a runny nose. In hindsight, I prefer the second option as this ensures that the daycare environment remains healthy.
5. Check vaccine policies
Most schools require a child’s up to date vaccination card as part of the application process. For me, it gave me comfort to know that each child has been vaccinated.’
Following these tips will help you when your child is always sick at daycare.
BONUS TIP: Practically, how to deal with days off work
Two things which came through from my Instagram stories feedback are:
- If both parents or any family members can share the ‘days off’. We did this in our home and lessened the pressure at work for both my husband and me.
- Aim to organise work from home days where appropriate.
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