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If your DC go to nursery, what do you do when they're ill?

(22 Posts)
soundsystem Mon 03-Aug-15 07:40:59

Excuse the very basic question, but I'm ony just starting to think about this!

DD1 is 9 months and has been at nursery 3 days a week since 8 months. DH and I both work full-time, but juggle things so we each have her for a day in the week.

Last week she was a bit poorly and had to come home early: Fine, I was working from home so was able to get her, look after her and continue working when she napped/after she was in bed.

But it got me thinking... If she had something that required her to be off for a week or more - chicken pox, say, what would I do? I'm aware of the entitlement to take time off to care for dependant's but that's really time off in an emergency to make arrangements, not to look after her ourselves for an extended period of time. We don't have family nearby, obviously nursery can't take her if she's infectious, and any friends who'd normally step in understandably wouldn't want to take a contagious child either. I can work from home occasionally on an pre-arranged or ad-hoc basis, but more than one day a week - two in an absolute emergency - would be pushing my luck!

Is anyone else in this situation? What are the options? Is there any sort of short notice childcare for this sort of scenario?

Sorry I'm clueless, but everyone I know IRL with young DC either has one SAHP or family nearby who would step in. We're in London if that makes a difference.


Buttercup27 Mon 03-Aug-15 07:43:37

We take it in turns to take unpaid leave to look after our I'll child.

Athrawes Mon 03-Aug-15 07:46:59

The reality is that you take turns to take time off to look after her. You each look at your diaries and work out who is best placed to take that day/week off. It's part of the deal. I was in the same situation and just lucky that my child didn't get sick enough to stay home more than a week (total) a year. You get him/her all the extra vaccinations you can - for example, chickenpox is not mandated where we are (NZ) but we added it at our cost because of the consequences of our having to take weeks off.
On the up side, your employer will struggle to fire you for staying home for a sick kid, especially if you have made it clear that you have shared the caring role with your partner.
And "working from home" with a sick kid is a no-no. If the kid is sick enough to be off nursery/school, then they need looking after

Indomitable Mon 03-Aug-15 07:47:03

Yep, we take turns too. (No family locally - but they all work FT too anyway).

For chicken pox we took 2 days off each.

Fortunately we have a fairly healthy child and a very understanding child minder.

Northernlurker Mon 03-Aug-15 07:50:47

You take it in turns and sos family or friends to come and stay if needed.
You might want to think about a private vaccination for chicken pox.

Nolim Mon 03-Aug-15 07:53:05

Take turns and discuss with your boss.

gamerwidow Mon 03-Aug-15 07:55:15

Like others have said you take it in turns and use annual leave/ unpaid leave to cover it. You'll probably find that when your dc first starts nursery they get a lot of bugs but once you've ridden out that bit most kids are quite hardy.

CPtart Mon 03-Aug-15 08:38:54

Yep, take it in turns or use annual leave. This is an ongoing problem, mine are several years older and it never ends. Even worse when they're at school tbh, as you've all the holidays, snow days, teachers strikes etc etc to cover and you soon find your leave doesn't go very far. Especially if you've more than one child!

Ktay Mon 03-Aug-15 08:51:25

Some larger employers have a back-up care scheme in place - we had a temporary nanny look after the DDs when our nanny was sick once and they can cover for things like chickenpox too. The theory turned out to be better than the practice as they struggled to find someone at short notice (and I live in prime Nappy Valley territory) so I had to step in and find someone for them, but it can work well. I did work from home that day as obviously springing a brand new carer on your child doesn't work for everyone.

Companies don't always publicise these schemes well and they're the sort of thing you don't pay attention to before you have children so might be worth you investigating.

cheminotte Mon 03-Aug-15 08:59:18

Take annual leave or unpaid leave. DP and I have always 'saved' a few days in case of emergency until the end of our different leave years. Worth discussing with DP / DH well in advance or he may well assume you will be doing it all. Wfh not really possible at this age but it is when they are older.

creamoftomato Mon 03-Aug-15 09:07:15

As everyone else says, split it up between you as best you can. I think an awful lot depends on how flexible and understanding your employer is/can be. In reality for us this year my DH has been the person at home with DS during almost every sickness bc his job is much more flexible than mine and he can make up working hours in the evenings and weekend. Not sure at all what we would do if things were different. It does make me often wish I still lived near my parents sad

TendonQueen Mon 03-Aug-15 09:11:44

You just have to take the time off, either using annual leave or unpaid. And decide between you whose work day is more important day by day and whose work has taken more of a hit recently, eg if you've just had two days off, your DH probably needs to swap with you. Work simply has to take second place for one of you, though.

CharlesRyder Mon 03-Aug-15 09:14:03

As PP have said you just have to take the time and live with the guilt and your boss being pissed off. DH and I are both teachers, he is very senior in his school and I do a specialist job that can't be 'covered', however, neither of our schools have folded when we have had to be off.

DS had scarlet fever this year. We each took time but at the end when he was feeling OK but still too fatigued for school we had a known sitter from to be with him at home.

soundsystem Mon 03-Aug-15 15:10:56

Thanks all. Just to clarify, when I mentioned working from home, this doesn't neccesarily need to be in working hours, so would look after sick child and then work after she was in bed/DH was home from work, rather than saying I was WFH and actually lookng after the baby, or actually WFH and ignoring baby!

Very good point cheminotte DP and I have had that conversation and it will really depends day by day - often one or other of us in out of London for the working day, so I suppose whoever's nearest be the one who will leave work in an emergency!

jclm Wed 05-Aug-15 22:38:48

If you have the cash, you can employ a nanny. This is the only form of childcare which would look after a sick child. My children aged 3 and 4 were constantly poorly and I was relieved when I was made redundant.

Pico2 Wed 05-Aug-15 22:51:03

I got DD inoculated against chicken pox as that means a longish time off nursery (and I didn't want her to have chicken pox). For other illnesses we get either set of grandparents over. My PIL have done a 3 hour journey in an evening to ensure we could both get to work the next day. Luckily my parents are a bit closer so do more of this. My boss seems to appreciate us having this cover, though also seems a little envious.

Siennasun Fri 07-Aug-15 20:33:18

If DS was a bit under the weather or ok but unable to go to Nursery due to exclusion period, I'd get a grandparent to look after him.
If didn't have family who could do it, or DS was more unwell I or DH it's usually me take carer's leave. I think the first 2 days per Isolde of absence are paid and after that you have to take unpaid or annual leave, but can take as much as you need.
I've had about 3 days off (paid) in the last year to look after DS and, even though I felt guilty about it, it's actually never been an issue. Your employer may be more understanding than you think.

Needaninsight Fri 07-Aug-15 20:38:20

I packed in my job.

It was getting to the point with two children where I was earning less than i was paying out for childcare. I don't get paid if I don't go in.

Milkyway1304 Thu 13-Aug-15 12:52:52

We had 2 months of non stop illness when I went back to work, and DD started nursery. She didn't spend a full week there between March and June! My DH and I each took 2 days off, DH can work from home occasionally so he did that a few more days. I had expected a lot of illness so arranged for grandparents to come from Ireland for a few days at a time and they kindly stepped in also. We have money put aside for emergency nanny, and am planning to get varicella vaccination soon. The constant illnesses do settle down.

Milkyway1304 Thu 13-Aug-15 12:53:37

(Late March to early June)

Thurlow Thu 13-Aug-15 12:56:51

Use up holiday, really. Or take unpaid leave if our holiday was running short.

When something came up that was clearly going to last a few days, like chicken pox or hand, foot and mouth, we asked family to help. DD went to my parents for a few days when she had HFM, and then FIL came over to stay one night when she had chickenpox.

How far away are the grandparents? Could they come and stay?

Otherwise it's just one of those things you have to suck up.

NotCitrus Thu 13-Aug-15 13:22:12

I work 3 days a week so lots of TLC on days off usually meant ds/dd were able to go in the following day even if under the weather. DP and I have an agreement that one of my working days is my responsibility for sick kids, he covers the other two days if necessary. We are lucky that we can both work from home quite a bit though I often have face-to-face meetings.

If they hadn't had chicken pox by age 4 I'd have got the jab. Luckily both kids have been pretty healthy and not prone to any d+v, but also they have been at a small friendly nursery where the nursery are happy to have a snuffly poorly child curled up and will look after them - some nurseries seem to be practically looking for excuses to send kids home! Probably helps when most parents commute as the nursery knows that even in an emergency, no adult is likely to be able to get a kid inside an hour.

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