A Working Parents Guide: Juggling Work and a Sick Child
“I don’t feel so good”. Five words when strung together by your little onenot only trigger anxious thoughts in you but also have the ability to wreak havoc with your work schedule. In an effort to fulfill all responsibilities at work and at home, you’re faced with the dilemma of deciding whether or not to take a sick leave from work to care for your sick kid at home — the juggle is real!
Here are some tips that’ll help lessen the anxiety of your child’s sick day:
Save up some personal days
You can expect your child to develop an ear infection or cold every flu season since kids are notorious for passing on germs. If you have some days off saved up for these situations, you won’t feel as anxious in taking time off from work.
Communicate with your supervisor to create a plan
Proactively meet with your supervisor to create a plan to set work priorities when you have a sick child on your hands. This is particularly important for employees who don’t receive paid time off.Planning for a situation like this ahead of time helps you anticipate whether you’ll have a flexible or rigid work schedule that day.
Devise a plan with your significant other
Talk to your partner beforehand about how the both of you will handle work and sick children. If your partner isn’t able to accommodate sick days in their schedule, plan for a way to make up for shouldering the load. One of you can return home early while the other catches up on work at night. If you don’t have any personal days off, you can talk to your manager to work on a weekend while your partner handles your sick child at home.
Stay ahead of your work
It’s generally a good idea to complete important tasks and projects on deadline earlier in the day. That way, if there’s an emergency in the middle of the day or in this case if you get a call from the school or daycare at 2pm to pick your child, you’ll be able to leave the office knowing your important projects are on track.
Plan for emergency caregivers
As a working parent, you’re likely to need help with your child at some point. Designate emergency caregivers among your family, friends and neighbors. Look for favors that you can call in from fellow parents in daycares. Talk to your child’s grandparents and aunts beforehand to babysit in case of emergencies; ensure that your child is comfortable and safe with the babysitter.
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