Is My Kid Faking Being Sick?

It’s common for kids to fake being sick, so it can be tricky to tell whether they’re ill or not. Some children are better actors than others, but there are a few signs that can tell you if they’re really sick or not.


If your child complains of a headache but they are otherwise acting as if they don’t have a headache, that could be a sign they are faking it. A headache is a mild pain that should go away on its own in an hour or two, so if they’re complaining of the same thing again or seem to be in constant pain (like crying or not eating), it’s time to get them checked out by their pediatrician.

Unable to hold down liquids or having bloody diarrhea are also signs that they may be faking it. Taking their temperature and rechecking it after an hour or so is the best way to tell if they are really ill, but parental intuition can also play a big role in the decision.

Raised Temperatures

Some children have a tendency to raise their temperatures and then lower them within minutes. This can be tricky to fake, but if you notice that they aren’t feeling well and their temperature is going up and down quickly, that might be a sign of illness.

A Rash

It’s harder to fake a rash than a fever, but it’s important to look for one when they aren’t feeling well. A rash can be a sign of an infection and should be treated promptly, especially if it is red, swollen, or looks as if it could bleed.


If your kid claims to have an injury, they will usually show you that they have an injury by comparing their leg to their other one. They might also do things like twist their leg or walk across the room.

They will often sneeze or cough when they are faking an illness, but this isn’t a sign that they are truly sick. In fact, it’s a pretty good indication that they’re faking their illness because they are not feeling well and want to avoid school.

A sudden change in symptoms

If they start to complain of a sore throat, then suddenly go to complain about having a fever, that’s another indicator that they’re faking an illness. They might also have a runny nose or feel a little bit nauseous, but they will not be as cranky as they normally would be when they are ill and will not want to do much.

A lot of people will say that their kid is faking being sick because they are bored or stressed out at school, but this isn’t always the case. Some kids will just need a break from school, but it’s still important to check with your child’s teachers about any issues that may be causing them to miss school too often.

A lot of kids have anxieties, just like adults do. They’re anxious about getting sick, about missing out on things that they love to do, and they worry that they might catch something dangerous or be infected. If your child seems to be faking their illness because they are nervous about these things, talk to them and make sure that they understand that they’re not actually sick and that you would always take them to the doctor if they ever felt truly sick.