No matter what season it is, being sick is horrible — for adults at least. It's a whole other story for kids. Take my daughter for example. When she gets sick during the school year (with a cold or sore throat, not a serious illness), she relishes in the fact that she doesn't have to go to class.
While her classmates are doing long division at their desks, my girl is at home snuggled under a nice warm blanket watching Disney movies, putting puzzles together, and playing board games with me. I'm fortunate enough to work from home, so I'm available for my kids during times such as this. I make her homemade chicken soup and bring her drinks or anything else she needs. She's basically spends the day receiving extra love and attention from me . . . and enjoys every minute of it. And to be honest, so do I.
While of course I don't like the fact that my child is sick, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the extra one-on-one time I get to spend with her. I love both of my children dearly, but when they're both at home, it's near impossible to get any quality time with each child. These sick days during the school year allow me to do just that.
And for my oldest daughter, a sick day also provides a second benefit: A much-needed mental health day. She has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), so school is much more difficult for her than it is for her neurotypical classmates. But she puts in great effort and works extremely hard, so the opportunity to rest and take a mental break from schoolwork can be just what the doctor ordered, so to speak.
But by the time summer rolls around, my kids are drained from their year at school. They need and deserve a rejuvenating summer break filled with fun trips to the beach, rollerskating in the park, and chasing down the ice cream truck. For hardworking children like mine, their summer break really serves as a mental health break and a chance to recharge before the coming school year. So when my kids get sick in the summer, it's the absolute worst.
First off, I struggle to take care of my sick child while still keeping my healthy child entertained — all without my sick child getting too jealous or sad that they can't participate. Plus, my sick child cannot have my undivided attention like they could during the school year. Instead of their sick day serving as a mental break, all it does is prevent my child from enjoying a fun summer day — one that they so desperately need and deserve. I want them to have as much time as they can to embrace all that summer offers, and it breaks my heart when they can't do that because they're sick.
So this summer, I'll say to my kids: Please, please, please wash your hands, eat your fruits and vegetables, go to sleep when I tell you to, and listen to all my other healthy tips. Because I have a fun summer break planned for you and I'd hate for you to miss a single day of it.