NORFOLK - It's not always easy for parents to decide if their child is too sick for school or daycare. Your pediatrician's advice or the school's rules should be your first consideration.

Tip 1: What is a good age to begin good attendance habits?
Start building this habit in preschool so that they learn right away that going to school every day is important.
Starting in kindergarten, too many absences can cause children to fall behind.
Missing 10 percent (or about 18 days) can make it harder for your child to keep up with the rest of the class.
For younger children and children transitioning to a new school they may experience some anxiety. Talk to teachers and counselors, even your pediatrician for advice on how to make your child feel comfortable and excited about learning.

Tip 2: Tummy aches, colds, flu are all things that contribute to poor attendance. When is your child too sick for school?

Keep children home from school when they have:
A temperature of 100.4 degrees or more during the past 24 hours
Persistent heavy nasal discharge and/or cough
Skin eruptions or an undiagnosed rash
Redness of the eyelid linings or an irritation of the eyes followed by swelling or discharge
Labored breathing
More than one abnormally loose stool or diarrhea in the past 24-hour period

Tip 3: What are some other things that parents can do?
With the flu season approaching it is important for parents, caregivers and children to get the flu vaccine.
The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October.
Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is always a good idea, and the protection you get from vaccination will last throughout the flu season. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.
Set regular bedtime and morning routines, assist and encourage your child to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch.

Good attendance will help children do well from preschool to college. Don't let your child stay home unless they are truly sick. Complaints of a stomach ache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.

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