The Effects of Sick Days on Education: How to Help Your Child Catch Up When He or She Misses School

By Sylvan Learning

Sylvan's Thoughts

Every kid has battled a runny nose or two, but what happens when a child is absent from school for an extended amount of time due to sickness? According to, children can suffer academically if they miss 10 percent of the school year or more and this can add up quickly. So, how can you as a parent make sure that your child doesn’t fall behind if he or she needs to miss more than a day or two of school?


We’ve put together the following tips on how to help your child catch up and make his or her return as smooth as possible:


Know the Policy. Most schools have an absentee policy designed to encourage regular attendance while still allowing students to take sick days if necessary. However, there may be academic penalties if a student misses too many days, so be sure to address absences with your child’s teachers, as well as school administrators if necessary.


Work with the Teacher. Your child’s teachers want him or her to succeed in school just as much as you do and they’re often willing to work with students that are absent due to illness. Don’t wait until your child has been out for a few days – the sooner you connect with his or her teachers, the better. Ask them questions like, “How much work did my child miss and can it be made up?” or “Is there a time after school where my son or daughter can get instruction on the missed topics or take a makeup exam?” Together, you and your child’s teachers can set realistic deadlines and get your child back on track.


Get Assignments Sent Home. If your child is going to be out of class for one or two days, try asking one of your child’s friends to bring assignments home. If an extended absence is anticipated, call the teacher to explain the situation and give a timeframe for returning to class, if possible. The teacher may be able to send home assignments in advance for your child to complete at his or her own pace.


Make a Plan. Create a chart with the assignments for each class and the due date. From there, work backward from the due date to break up the work into manageable chunks. Make sure to not overdue it while your child is recovering from illness and be realistic. If he or she hasn’t caught up but is well enough to return to school, work to find the extra time to complete the missed work while still keeping up with current assignments. This could mean adding in an extra hour of study time before bed or blocking off weekend afternoons to complete assignments until he or she is all caught up.


We know how important it is to keep up in the classroom but we also know that for some kids, it’s sadly just not possible due to health concerns. That’s why Sylvan Learning is proud to be a Special Friend of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Light the Night Walks. We aim to have a meaningful role in the lives of LLS patients by providing much-needed tutoring services to pediatric patients across the country.


We plan to raise more than $250,000 for LLS through local fundraising initiatives and participation in Light the Night Walks across North America. Would you like to join us? Find out how to join a local team or create a new one in your area.


We are also aiming to donate more than 12,000 hours of free tutoring services to LLS pediatric patients in more than 250 communities nationwide. These patients will receive a full tutoring scholarship that includes a detailed academic assessment, a tutoring plan that will be personalized to his or her exact needs and 24/7 access to educational resources online.


It is our hope to help ease the transition back to school for these deserving students and help them have a bright educational future.