To take them to daycare or not to take them to daycare? That is the question. Dealing with snotty noses is part of the parenting package. For some (ahem, me) it’s a never-ending cycle which makes juggling work and family life quite the challenge.
Many, many mornings I’ve gotten ready for work only to go into my little one’s room and be greeted by a snot-covered pillow and a grumpy face. Sometimes I know straight away that my kid is in no shape to be around other humans. Other times, it’s not so cut and dry.
So how do you decide whether to keep your child at home or not?
Step 1: Analyse the colour and consistency.
Is the snot clear and thin? Or is it yellow or green and thick in texture? A cold normally starts with clear, thin mucus that gradually gets thicker as the immune system kicks into gear. Yellow or green snot is a sign that your child’s cells have started fighting the infection (unless it’s a chip or a pea your child shoved up their nostril a week ago). Contrary to popular belief, your child is most contagious during the clear, runny nose phase but they will be most uncomfortable during the thick, yellow/green snot phase. Some parents swear that their children get a clear, runny nose when teething so it can be hard to make a decision about daycare without further analysis and advice.
Step 2: Check your child’s temperature.
Does your child have a fever? A fever is a sign that your child is fighting off a bug that you wouldn’t want him or her to share with others. If your child is on the tail end of a cold and has no temperature, you can probably head to work without worrying. If they have heaps of snot and/or a temperature, it’s time to replace those heels with a pair of uggs and cancel that meeting because your little one might be too sick for daycare. When it comes to colds and flu, sharing is definitely not caring.
Step 3: Trust your intuition.
Use your parental intuition to figure out if your child is their normal self or if they are not 100 percent. Although this can be tricky to tell if your child is between the ages of two and four and hates the world and everyone in it.
Ask yourself, “Does my child look well enough? Would they cope in a group environment? Or do they need some extra mum/dad cuddles?”