Looking at the girls sat on the sofa watching a Christmas film after school, I can see the tell tale rings of tiredness around their eyes. Little 1 is cuddling her comforter and Little 2 is automatically sucking her thumb and holding hers too, they are quiet and still which is unlike them. They are shattered, completely and utterly spent and they have another three weeks to go until the Christmas break.
We are treading on eggshells here, one or both if them is liable to blow any minute and equally likely to descend into fits of sobbing and tears for reasons known only to themselves. Yesterday Little 2 cried because our cat came and stared at her and she didn't want her to, while her sister has just got really rather angry that her banana didn't peel right!
As a parent I know these are all signs of tiredness, this isn't my girls, where are they? My easy going happy Little 1 looks pale and tired while her younger sister is terribly grumpy. Unfortunately I have come to know that this is the norm (for my family at least) during the Winter term and the run up to Christmas.
Little 1 is working hard in year 2, the class work had definitely gone up a gear this year, she is practicing for her Christingle service and learning her times tables. Little 2 is working equally hard, as well as learning to read and write she is adjusting to being a school girl and the emotional side of being in a class of thirty, negotiating the dinner hall and the playground etiquette. She too is practicing a Christmas play, no wonder she is tired.
There are three weeks left of term, A Christmas play, a Christingle and a Carol Concert to got through, as well as Christmas parties. The girls are ready for a break already and it is only going to get worse. There seem to be so many bugs around at this time of year we have had 3 colds run through the family and a tummy bug since the start of October and Daddy, Little's 2 and 3 have had a cough for weeks. In order to help them through we are ensuring they get plenty of sleep and have been putting them to bed earlier, but coughs and colds have often caused disturbed nights. We are keeping them warm and eating well plus boosting their immune systems with vitamins too.
The other morning (a school day) after breakfast Little 1 curled up on the sofa with a blanket and was watching tv, she was quiet and for a child who is always hot this sent a warning signal to me. It turned out she had a headache, felt cold and her glands were up, but she didn't seem too unwell, brewing a cold or fighting a virus I thought, she was happy and didn't say anything about not going to school and so I gave her a dose of Nurofen and sent her in although I did feel bad about it. She had eaten a good breakfast and was happy and herself enough for me to know she wasn't that unwell and would be okay. I told her teacher just so that they knew she wasn't right and would keep an eye on her. When I picked her up she was pale and had a fever but she was still happy and her teacher said she had been quiet but okay. I dosed her up again, she ate her tea and we gave Rainbows a miss that night in favour of a bath and an early night. The next day she had come out in a full blown cold and felt much the same, she was still happy and chatty and again ate a good breakfast, she opted to go to school dosed up but I did indirectly give her an option to ask to stay home (So what do you want to do today?, to which she replied I am going to school).
As a parent you know when your child is unwell and even though they are not right you know (most of the time) if they can cope with a day at school. Little 1 had slept well that night, was eating well, happy and acting normally although sitting quietly rather than playing so I made the decision to send her to school with a dose of Calpol in this instance.
So 'Can the children be too tired and rundown for a day at school?' At what point do you decide they are so rundown they need a day of rest? Do you send them in and count down the hours until 3pm Friday when they can have a couple of quiet days or do you decide a day off is in order at the first sign of illness? I am obviously talking about coughs and colds here not tummy bugs or Chicken Pox, any child who is obviously unwell or infectious needs to be off school for the sake of their own health and others. What do you think?