Why I Let My Kids Play Hooky…….. | Dr. Heidi Skye
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Why I Let My Kids Play Hooky……..


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I hope the school board doesn’t read this post. Yesterday I let my son skip school. He did not have a cold, cough or flu. In fact, he was perfectly healthy. He was full of energy, happy and r’arin’ to go! This is called a wellness dayin our household. He asked for it and he got it. I arranged my day so he could hang at home. He slept in and we went out to lunch!

Was I worried he would miss something important? Sort of. So, I used my, “Will this matter in 10 years?” question as a barometer and decided that in 10 years, him missing one day of 8th grade probably won’t cause him to miss out on his dream job.

What I truly believe is that creating a context for a wellness day will matter to him in 10 years.

  • It will give him a way to take care of himself.
  • It will give him a perspective on life that he is in control of managing his own health.
  • It gives him permission to act in the best interest of his health and well-being.
  • It will show him that he doesn’t have to have symptoms to move toward wellness.


I want my kids to be able to identify when they need a day off and be able to ask for it. When I was young I was only allowed to miss school if was sick. I knew this at such a young age that once I put the thermometer up against the light bulb to “create a fever.” I got to stay home, but I didn’t really enjoy it.  And I am sure I made my poor mom worried! And most significantly, it didn’t begin to empower me to make healthy choices for myself.

Creating the space for our children to request a wellness day reinforces the fact that they can manage themselves and their energy.It’s a reward for being aware. It reinforces their ability to self regulate.

And, wait for it…

I take wellness days too.

And I do not hide it. I have been known to announce, “Dinner will be frozen delights” — they make organic ones you know, don’t judge — “I am going to hike up a hill and I won’t be doing laundry. See you after school. I am taking a wellness day.” Since they are teens I can carve out more time than when they were little. Even then I would say, “Mom is gonna take care of herself today. No chores for me.”  They are used to me outwardly caring for myself. And I applaud it when they do the same!

When I called the school the receptionist yesterday said “I hope your son feels better.” Uh-oh. I couldn’t let her think he was sick so I replied “He is actually fine, we are just taking the day off.” There was silence on the other end of the phone. Clearly, this was an unusual confession. I simply said goodbye and grinned at my son. He heard this and saw I was transparent about our choice.

This is helpful because this also leads our children to ask for days off when they are not feeling well. Don’t we want them to be able to check in on themselves and self report?Someday they will leave and build their own lives. And I hope they will use some of the bricks I gave them.

I’d love to hear if you play hooky too! Leave a comment about how you take care of yourself or family especially in ways you don’t see others doing it.


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1 Comment
  • Joanne Boyd
    Posted at 00:47h, 16 October Reply

    When my children seemed overwhelmed with school projects, homework, etc. I would have them take a mental health day. They didn’t have to stay in bed like when they were sick,, but more often than not, they would sleep and linger in bed or in the quiet of their room. They are adults now, who are tuned in to their body/mind signals. And while they can’t always take a day off, they can slow down and get extra sleep to keep going.

    When I worked full time as a counselor, I would occasionally ‘lose’ my day planner which listed my daily appointments. That was my signal that I needed a mental health day. My secretary had a list of my appointments, so she would notify each person that I would be out of the office. One day of rest would rejuvenate me. Somehow, my day planner always showed up the day I returned to my office.

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