You know your children better than anyone else, even their teachers and pediatrician.  As you probably know, the vast majority of kids stay home sick from school at least once in their life.  Sometimes they’re genuinely sick, and sometimes they’re able to beat the system with clever acting skills. Most of the time, these “fake sick” stunts are easily caught by parents, and sometimes doctors can’t even diagnose why a child isn’t feeling well.

So, if your child says they don’t feel well, and you can’t tell if they’re truly sick, what’s the plan of action?

If you have a hunch that your child is faking their illness, try a few simple tests. Try distracting them with food or physical activity. If the child is eager to eat or participate in a game, odds are that they’ll quit the act or soon forget about being sick altogether. If they seem truly disinterested in food and play, you may have to change your plans for the day.

Sometimes your child’s ailment is more complicated to diagnose than a cold or infection by a pediatrician. For example, anxiety and depression can often affect a child physically, making them feel sick. Just because there’s no fever or glossy eyes doesn’t mean that your child is faking.  Use your instinct, and when in doubt call your child’s doctor for a second opinion.

Never send your children to school if they have a fever or stomach ailments. If you do keep your child home from school, but don’t feel that a trip to the doctor is necessary at this point, make sure they are hydrated and resting.

How do you tell if your child is faking a sickness?

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