Worst-Case Scenarios: Classroom Edition

Your child keeps going to the nurse. Is she actually sick?

"If a child has a stomachache, I ask her to use the bathroom; that often helps," says Jamie Nedwick, a first-grade teacher in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. If the nurse calls, make sure that's been done. No fever, vomiting, or diarrhea? Your kid may be allowed to return to class; if so, speak with her and say you'll take a look at her problem when you pick her up.

To tease out true illness, remind your kid that too sick for school is too sick to play with friends later on. If she doesn't perk up, you may want to take her home. Also check your child's emotions. "Kids who frequently visit the nurse's office with stomachaches and headaches tend to be nervous," says Leef. "Children are less likely to say 'I'm worried about math' than to go to the nurse with an upset stomach every day at math time." If you suspect anxiety, have a three-way talk with the teacher and nurse about how together you can ease the butterflies.

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