Were you ever allowed to play hooky when you were school-aged? I remember my mom signing me out to go grab lunch or to go shopping for my prom dress, and those are core memories, my friend. Is there really harm done by sneaking your child out of class every now and then for fun with their family?
One mom doesn’t think so, and yet, she was met with some pushback after admitting that she lets her daughter take one day off from school per month to do whatever she wants.
Noel LaPalomento shared a TikTok video of her 6-year-old daughter all smiles while taking a break from school.
“I told my daughter she can pick one day each month to stay home from school without being sick,” she wrote in text overlay on the video.
The video quickly went viral with over 7.5 million views and thousands of likes and comments from TikTok users who had a bone to pick with LaPalomento, while others wished they had a similar choice when they were younger.
Popular TikTok content creator, Elyse Meyers, commented, “A mental health day off would have done so much good for my hurting brain and heart when I was growing up. This is amazing!”
A teacher also applauded LaPalomento and wrote, “I’m a teacher and I’m not even mad about it. Especially if she’s so little!! Mental health days are super important and let kids be kids! 🥰”
Another wrote, “I homeschool my kids. Everyday is like this for us lol we finish school work at 9-10am, then we go out to zoo, beach or picnic or meet up with friends”
The OP replied, “if she didn’t go to the amazing school she does I would be homeschooling her too ❤️love that.”
One user commented, “One day a month is a lot!”
The OP clapped back, “to each his own ✨”
The 26-year-old mom spoke to Good Morning America about how the idea to let her daughter take some time off came about, saying that she noticed a change in her daughter’s energy levels and mental health when she began full-time school, which affected her desire to even go to school.
“Last year, there [were] times she would literally come home from school, she’d be sleeping on the step before I could get her off, then she’d be sleeping in the hallway. It was like, the kid was a zombie,” LaPalomento said.
“And then she comes home, and I don’t even have time to spend with my kid. I’m making dinner, trying to do homework [with her], and then it’s time for bed.”
To help her daughter adjust to the new school schedule as well as make sure the two of them were getting the quality time that they needed, she decided to call her daughter out of school one day a month to help her recharge.
“I know she’s good in school and she gets good grades, and she does all her work so she could stay home for a day. It’s not going to hurt her,” LaPalomento said.
The mom of one said her daughter “loved” her monthly break, and she hopes having the occasional time off can even motivate her “to want to go to school rather than being in school five days a week, all day long.”
According to the Child Mind Institute, there is nothing wrong with a child taking off school for a mental health day if it’s for the right reasons. This is where having a good read on your child comes in handy.
“Mental health days can be positive for any child,” according to Allison Dubinski, a LCSW at the Child Mind Institute, as per their site, “as long as they’re done in a way that’s not reinforcing avoidance or anxiety.”
“We want to teach kids that prioritizing our mental health and taking care of ourselves is important,” Dubinski wrote. “But if kids are asking for a day off because they’re trying to get out of something that they’re anxious about, staying home may end up reinforcing that anxiety.”
Jerry Bubrick, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute agreed with Dubinski’s sentiment.
“I’m a big advocate for mental health days,” he said. However, he notes that parents need to be conscious of making sure kids aren’t using them to avoid schoolwork.
“This isn’t because you want to get an extension on a paper or miss a test — then it’s just a procrastination day.”
Sounds like this mom knows her kid, and is helping her out in the long run.