For Parents

Tips to manage your child’s chronic illness so he or she succeeds in school

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How To Manage School Absences

How often does your child miss class because of his or her chronic illness? School absences might be unavoidable. And it is easy for absences to pile up and feel overwhelming. But you can minimize the impact of absences on both you and your child.

The best place to start is to notify the school of your child’s planned, or likely, absences. Then, develop a checklist of actions you, your child’s teacher, and your child will take during such absences. You can find a helpful format for this checklist here.

With a plan, their classmates and teacher will understand your child’s unique situation and maybe even make it a bit easier, as Stacey told us in this video.

Stacey’s daughter, Chelsea, had been hospitalized for 14 days. Her classmates “had a big balloon, a bear, and some gifts sent to the hospital and all the kids in her class wrote a note of encouragement. And that just spoke volumes to Chelsea that you know, ‘we care.’”

In addition to having a plan, consider keeping a weekly record log of your child’s absences and which subjects he or she missed, along with other pertinent information.

If your child needs to be absent from school for weeks or months at a time, you may need to obtain Hospital Homebound (HBB) services. HHB is a state program that provides instruction at home or in the hospital from a teacher who coordinates with your child’s classroom teacher.


Teachers and school nurses can be enormously supportive in helping your child manage his or her chronic illness. Parents discuss some of the rewarding experiences they’ve had with their child’s school.

Listen to parents describe how their children’s chronic illnesses can mean missing school whether for an afternoon, a few days, or for weeks at a time. Parents detail how tricky it can be for their children to catch up on the schoolwork they missed.

Parents suggest ways to make the back-to-school transition easier after your child has missed school for several days or weeks.


Weekly record log

Use this worksheet to keep a weekly record of your child’s absences, subjects and assignments missed, grades, and illness-related changes.
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Absence planning

This checklist will help you develop a plan for what to do, and whom to contact, when your child is absent from school.
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