Every year I dread the beginning of cold and flu season. I cross my fingers and hope, “Please, please, please.. just let me make it one more month without sickness!”
School is a wonderful place where your children learn, grow, and play. However, during school they are in very close proximity to other students at all times. It is inevitable that germs will spread from one kiddo to the next, leaving your child at risk. So as a parent what can you do to keep your child healthy during the school year? Here are four tips to keep your student well this cold and flu season.
- Wash, Wash, Wash Your Hands!
Hand washing is the number one preventative to spreading or gaining an illness. Teach your child at home the proper ways to wash their hands, and at what times they need to wash them. Every time your child washes their hands they need to wash the front and back of their hands for twenty seconds to properly get rid of any germs. Try signing the “Happy Birthday” song with your child to show them the right amount of time. Your kiddo should also know when to wash their hands. Prepare them to wash after: coughing, blowing their nose, using the restroom, and before they eat.
- Healthy Eating Habits
What your kids eat will in turn have an effect on their overall health. Prepare meals for your child packed with high antioxidants to build up their immune system. Try foods such as: berries, nuts, green leafy veggies, honey, bell peppers, citrus, and squash. These nutrient packed foods will give your student a healthy balanced diet during the school year.
- Plenty of Rest
With after school activities, other siblings, homework, you name it, it almost seems impossible to have all children in bed at a reasonable time. (I know, I have three!) However, loss of sleep can lead to a lowered immune system, anxiety, and lower energy for your child. School age children still require 9-11 hours of sleep each night. How can you accomplish this? Try to find a good bedtime routine and stick to it. Whether it is a story, devotion, or limiting screen time your kiddos need that rest for their bodies to get ready for the next day.
- Stay on the Lookout for Signs of Illness
Ever heard the old saying, “The early bird catches the worm”. Yes, I know we all have. However, when it comes to your child’s health there are times when you can prevent and remedy a cold before it becomes serious. Try to be on the lookout for signs of illness such as: red eyes, dark circles under their eyes, scratchy throat, restless behavior, interrupted sleep, a minor cough, or loss of appetite. You know your child and if you think they are not feeling well jump into action before it gets severe.
“Tips From School Nurses on Keeping Kids Healthy.” Kids Health. For Parents November 2013 (1). Kids health.org/en/parents/school-nurses-survey.html 26 Dec. 2016.
Lee, Katherine. “11 Ways to Keep Kids Healthy During the School Year: Best tips for keeping kids healthy at school and at home.” Very Well 30 Sep. 2016: (1-2).