My second grader was having sleeping problems. She wasn't really getting any good REM sleep in my opinion, which left her cranky and unbearable for several days. I couldn't take all the pushback and the crying. It was getting out of hand.
“Mom, I don't feel well. My stomach hurts”, she said.
Her face looked pale but I could tell she could still go to school if I really pushed.
I sent her to do the regular- go to the bathroom, drink some water, have a piece of toast… wait a bit. She was persistent.
“Do you have any tests? Any big projects?”
“No. Can I please stay home?”
I let my second grader take mental health day. She needed a break. Mental health days are good for everyone. I've taken my share. It helps reboot the system and it often feels like your own personal mental holiday from stress. In fact every job should require employees take one when the daily routine gets too intense.
Like her mom, she's a feeler and we antenna types are having a difficult time in the current climate. The stress we feel not only on ourselves but the stress we feel from others causes physical discomfort. Mine manifest as stomach aches, headaches, cold sweats, nightmares… I get it. I get where she was coming for and where she was headed.
She spent the day finishing her homework packet, pleasure reading, doing a book report, getting lots of cuddles, and drinking lots of water. It was a chill day with no tv or video games (which is what her sisters believed happened).
Everyone deserves a day or two to debrief, re-energize, and prepare to get back in the game (of life). As far as mental health days go, you gotta know your kid. I am not a fan of missing school for no reason, but I do believe that the rigors of schedule and even life pressures can have their affect on us. We need to listen to our own bodies and encourage our kids to do the same. If you end up taking several days in a row, it's time to go to the doctor.
I'm a former teacher and former college athlete, currently working in edtech. My mission is to get parents to partner with their child's teacher.