parent opinion

PARENT OPINION: A birthday isn’t a valid reason for kids to miss school.

A birthday isn’t a valid reason for kids to miss school.

I actually cannot believe this needs to be said, but your kid’s birthday is not a valid reason for them to miss school, and it’s certainly not a valid reason for other kids to miss school. 

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Most parents of school aged kids understand the birthday party stress.

Especially if you have multiple young ones, the invitations (as lovely as they are to receive) eat up a good chunk of weekends and after school hours. 

But we keep going, because they have so much fun and it’s nice to celebrate friends on their special day. 

One thing I did not expect when we hopped on the birthday train though was to get invitations asking us to keep our child out of school for a day in order to celebrate another kid’s birthday. 

And no, not a once off – this is the second year in a row we’ve been asked.

The first time I thought it was a once off because they were actually going out of town for a sleepover, so I allowed it thinking it wouldn’t come up again. I’m not the fun police or a stickler who forces my kids to school just for the perfect attendance record – I give them rest days or mental health days when I feel they’re needed – but there are good reasons to miss school, and bad ones, and this is a bad one.

Firstly, if other parents want to give their children the day off on their birthday, that’s their call. But I don’t agree with it, partly because that’s not how real life rolls – you don’t ask your boss for the day off for your birthday, generally – and also because what kid doesn’t love taking in a box of cupcakes and being treated like a king or queen by the class on their special day? 

Also, the department of education actually lists birthdays as not being a valid reason to miss school, so that would be an unexplained absence. But if that’s your jam with your family, I’m not standing in the way of it. 

But please don’t put other parents in the awkward position of having to say “no” to this request and then looking like the bad guys if their child finds out they’re missing out. 

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In fact, this even caused a small argument in our family when one parent was ready to accept the invitation “because it’s only one day” and the other (me, I am the other) said “absolutely not” because I had just gotten through teaching said child a tough lesson about how we can’t just blow off our commitments when a better offer comes up. 

I think it’s one of those cases where some parents just feel that their family and their children are the special exception to the rules everyone else follows. Can you imagine if every child had a day off for their birthday, and how this would impact on the number of absences schools record?

Then imagine if each birthday, two or three friends also took the day off. We’d quickly see medical certificates required for absences at school, just like we have in many workplaces. 

School is only 30 hours out of 168 in a week. That leaves 138 hours outside of school to party, which everyone else seems to manage. 

It’s a no from me.

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Feature Image: Getty.

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