6 Ways to Tell If Your Child Is Actually Sick or Faking It

Spring may be here, yet cold and flu season are still persisting.  Is your child really fighting or faking these symptoms? Mighty Mommy has 6 tips to help parents take on their little fakers. 

Cheryl Butler
6-minute read
Episode #372

Tip #4:  Schedule a Physical

If your child feels the need to miss school several days in a row, or within a short time period, it might be time to schedule a visit with your pediatrician to have a full physical to simply give you, the parent, a peace of mind that everything is OK—as well as to send a message to your child that you have no intention of playing around with their precious health and that you will have them examined from head to toe to make sure you rule out all possibilities of potential illnesses. Most kids want no part of heading to their pediatrician when they are truly feeling well.  Sick kids, however, want relief and are usually wiling to be examined just to feel better.

Tip #5: Stay Tuned In

With so many reasons why a child may be “too sick to go to school,” a parent’s best defense is to know their child well. Stay informed about what is going on in their world, and use that knowledge to help make the best possible diagnosis.  I rely on my kid’s teachers and school connections to help me out when I can’t figure out what might be the real culprit.  Pick up the phone and call the school or send an e-mail or even a text to your child’s teacher. Your child’s school team will appreciate input from home so that you can all be on the same page to best benefit your child’s overall school experience. And your child’s teachers see her many more hours during the course of the week than we as parents do at home, so their insight can often be invaluable.

Tip #6: Offer Bonus Days Throughout the School Year

Today’s kids are working harder than ever to keep up with their school work and excel in their courses, attend extra-curricular programs, produce quality homework, participate in athletics and/or artistic/musical endeavors, not to mention the peer pressure they face on an ongoing basis. Regular down time is almost unheard of so it’s more important than ever to make sure your child doesn’t succumb to a whopping case of burnout. In our family we regularly allow one or two mental health days off from school.  Because we offer these up at the beginning of each school year, my kids know they can bank them and use them when they really need them, usually in the later part of the school year. These “bonus” days have served our family well because my kids know they have to use them wisely and  it also acknowledges their need to have some time to “de stress” a couple of times during the school year without having to orchestrate a lot of random physical excuses to get a day off.  See Also:  5 Ways to Help Kids Manage Stress

How do you deal with a child who is faking an illness to stay home from school?   Share your thoughts in the Comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mightymommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com. Also visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.

Be sure to sign up for the upcoming Mighty Mommy newsletter, chock full of practical advice to make your parenting life easier and more enjoyable. 


About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!