The working parents’ guide to dealing with sick kids

Rebecca Avis-Forsythe winces, recalling the time she sent her three-year-old son to daycare knowing he had thrown up in the night. “Everyone who usually helps me out was busy,” confesses the mother of two from Peterborough, Ont. Out of sick days herself, Avis-Forsythe, an account representative, couldn’t afford to play hooky; neither could her husband, a chef.

Erin Devarennes has been there too. The project manager and mom of two from Moncton, NB, admits that she gave Advil to her feverish daughter so she could send her to daycare long enough to make an important work meeting. “It wasn’t my proudest moment, but it reduced my stress level at the time.”

A child’s surprise illness can push a working parent to the point of panic (“She can’t go to daycare, I’ve got a jam-packed calendar that I can’t rearrange — so now what?”). To help you pull through your kid’s next sick day without neglecting work or parenting responsibilities, we’ve gathered advice from career experts and veteran parents:

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