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Working Parents: Balancing Your Job a with a Sick Child

As a parent of young children, you are probably constantly screaming “Wash Your Hands!” in hopes to save your child from spreading germs and getting sick. The reality is that kids get sick all the time without much prior notice. A child’s surprise illness can push any parent, especially working parents to the point of panic. You can’t send your child to daycare, but you also can’t reschedule your big meeting for that next day – so now what? We all know your child is your number one priority, so to help pull you through your child’s next sick day while balancing your work and parenting responsibilities, here is some advice from career experts and veteran parents:

Know Your Benefits

Check with your employer to see how many unpaid/ paid days you may have to care for your child. Unpaid leave is an opportunity for you to protect your job, and care for your child. Also talk to your employer about using your own sick days to care for your child.

Check In With Your Boss

If you’re new to your job, you can schedule a chat with your employer about having flexibility to deal with unexpected family responsibilities. You’d be surprised as to how many employers are becoming more open to work-life balance. If you’re already in your job, try to schedule a chat before your child gets sick. Talk about your options, especially working from home to stay with a sick child.

Have Backups

It is super helpful to have extended family and trustworthy friends nearby to help you and your child. Everyone isn’t fortunate enough to have trusted individuals to help out nearby, but other options include babysitters and on-call nanny services (if you’re willing to pay the price).

Tag Team

Tag team with your partner and split the day so one parent can stay home in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

Last Resort

If all else fails and you need to stay home with your child, tell your boss quickly and professionally. Be honest and tell them the facts and how you plan to make up for your work.A lot of parents get really stressed out when their child is sick, but a positive spin on the situation can make all the difference. Don’t look at is at an inconvenience, look at it as an opportunity to bond. Bring on the story time, chicken noodle soup, snuggles, and pajamas all day!

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