How to Talk to Your Child’s Friends’ Parents about Lice

It’s a parent’s nightmare – you get a call from the school nurse telling you that your child has head lice. You have to pick them up immediately from school and make sure that your child is louse-free before returning to school.

As if that wasn’t enough, you as a responsible parent, need to notify your child’s friends’ parents that your son or daughter has bugs in their hair and could have passed it on to their child. So how do you tell other parents about this embarrassing problem?

Get Over the Shame

Despite the myths and misinformation about head lice, this is not a hygiene problem or a result of a dirty house. Lice are transmitted from head to head contact, usually among children playing together. Girls get it more often than boys, and women more often than men. But boys get it too so make sure your son’s head is checked.

You need to think of head lice like the common cold. It spreads from kid to kid like wildfire, and there’s almost nothing you can do to prevent it. So don’t get embarrassed or feel ashamed – this is not your fault.

Call Your Child’s Friends’ Parents

Once you’ve treated your children and everyone is put to bed, set aside some time that evening to make a few phone calls to the friends’ parents. They need to know because their son or daughter may have transmitted head lice also. So your call can go something like this:

“Hi Carol, I just wanted to let you know that we found head lice on Suzy today. Since lice are spread from head-to-head contact, she could have gotten it from one of the other kids at school and potentially passed it on to your daughter Tammy. Just keep an eye on Tammy to see if she’s been scratching her head lately, and you may want to check her just to be safe. Let her know that it’s been going around the school and not to put her head to other kids’ heads. I’m going to keep Suzy out of school for a few days until I can be sure we’ve gotten rid of it for good.”

If you keep the conversation short, to the point, and about information and education, rather than alarm and fear, you should be fine. Just reassure parents that you are going to get it under control at your end before you send your child back to school. That will keep them calm and still give them the information they need to prevent or check for lice on their children.