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It is understandable for every mother to want to protect and take care of their children, especially if they have any reason to believe that a child is sick. However, it is important to develop a good sense of what is real and what is fake so that each child is able to acquire a good education. After all, there are numerous reasons that someone might want to stay home from school, and the majority of them do not involve an actual illness. To help you out, we have compiled a list of tips that will make it much easier to figure out if they actually need to go to the doctor.
1. Take Their Temperature
Although not every illness will show itself via a thermometer, this is still a good starting point for figuring out whether or not they are genuinely ill and have a fever. Keep in mind that traditional options can be manipulated with a hot light-bulb, so you may wish to use a wireless thermometer instead to get a more accurate result. Wireless thermometers are comfortable to children, and the wearable design is often tolerated by kids a lot better than traditional thermometers.
2. Stay Up to Date on Their School Schedule
It is always possible for someone to get sick on the day of a big test or presentation, but if this happens frequently, the odds are high that they are simply feeling intimidated by the idea of going to school. By staying up to date on their school schedule, you can more quickly determine if they have test anxiety instead of a real sickness.
3. Pay Close Attention to Their “Sick” Symptoms
Most children and teenagers are unable to stick with a fake symptom for an extended period of time, so look for any obvious gaps. For example, if they are talking like they have a sore throat, they should not magically recover their normal voice while talking on the phone or watching television. Additionally, it is common for children to make vague complaints that keep changing when they are not really sick. Therefore, if a stomachache quickly changes to a sore throat, it is a good idea to be skeptical of their claims.
4. Look for Psychological Symptoms
It is important to note that not being physically ill does not mean that your child is not feeling sick. If they are having psychological issues such as high stress or depression, it can make them feel run down or tired, and they might even exhibit other physical symptoms such as a migraine. Stress can lead to a long list of problems, including insomnia, asthma, gastrointestinal discomfort, depression, and obesity. With this in mind, if your child or teenager appears to be highly stressed out, they may need to begin seeing a counselor to help them deal more effectively with their daily stressors.
5. Observe Their Behavior
Did your child tell you they were sick this morning and then proceed to stay awake all day while watching TV and playing with their favorite toys? If so, the odds are high that they are just faking it. The reality is that feeling under the weather makes most people feel lethargic, and it can be really difficult to gather enough strength to do something fun. In other words, if your child is truly ill, they will typically be more interested in sleeping than in lugging out their toys for an extended period of playtime.
Please note that some illnesses can cause ups and downs throughout the day, and anxiety is often very difficult for children to deal with. When in doubt, it is always best to make an appointment with a pediatrician. As an added bonus, the simple act of making this appointment can often make it clear who is really sick and who is just faking it.
How did you fake sick when you were a kid?
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.