The study, Parents' Choices About Daycare, interviewed parents about their choices and decisions when dealing with their sick children, and whether work responsibilities made it difficult to take
time off to care for them.
The researchers investigated the attitudes of working moms and dads, asking them what they do when their child is ill and scheduled to attend daycare or nursery facilities. The parents were also asked about changes that could affect their decisions.
One finding from the study is that most parents considered a cough or other cold symptoms to be less serious than other illnesses.
"Parents are aware that sending their child to nursery when they are unwell is not always the ideal thing to do, but there are often other factors meaning it is not possible to keep their child at home,” says Dr. Fran Carroll, the study’s lead author and Research Associate at the University of Bristol's Centre for Academic Primary Care. "However, there are some changes that nurseries could make which may help parents with their decisions, and reduce the spread of infectious illnesses in both children and staff in nursery environments."
The Bristol research found parents made decisions based on the childcare facility’s policies, as well as employment issues like lost work time, financial impact, and whether or not they had access to alternative care. Parents in the study pointed out a few care facility practices that, if implemented, could help reduce the problem:
- Reduction in nursery fees if the child cannot attend
- Being able to swap sessions with others
- Getting clearer guidance on the facility’s sickness policies
Such family-supportive adjustments are increasingly important in a world where single parents are common, as are households where both parents work full-time. Unfortunately, for many jobs, such as construction, assembly lines, and health services, there is no work-from-home option.
In many cases, the issue preventing proper care is not time, but money. This is why FamilyWize freely distributes its prescriptions savings cards, available through the FamilyWize website or through partners like United Way. The cards save an average of 42% on prescriptions and can be used nationwide.
Have you faced this issue? How have you handled it? If you have suggestions for other parents facing this work/home balancing act, use the comments below to share your insights.