6 Ways to Protect Your Kids’ Health During the School Year
Doesn’t it seem as though someone in the family is fighting off the sniffles from September to June? When kids go back to school, they’re bombarded with an onslaught of germs. Because they’re in such close proximity with others at school, kids can share diseases and infections with each other. Learn how to keep kids healthy during the school year so that you can focus on sharing positivity instead of sickness.
Encourage Hand Washing
Most kids know that they should wash their hands after they use the bathroom. However, many skip this step or don’t do it properly.
Show children how to wash their hands the right way. They should use soap and water and make sure that they’re coating their palms, their wrists, the backs of their hands and between their fingers. Then, they should dry their hands with an approved device, such as a towel or an air dryer, completely.
A quick rinse won’t necessarily do the trick. Kids should wash their hands for the length of time that it takes them to sing Happy Birthday.
If you don’t have soap and water available, hand sanitizer will do. However, experts say that the traditional method of washing hands is preferable.
Make sure that kids wash their hands before and after eating, after they use the bathroom and when they get home from school.
Wear Clean Clothes
Handwashing isn’t always enough to keep germs at bay. Microbes can travel from school to home on their clothes.
Encourage your little ones to change into clean clothes when they get home from school. Their soiled outfits should go straight into the laundry room or hamper. They should also wear clean clothes to school to avoid bringing germs from home into the classroom.
Parents might want to do the same thing. Especially if you work in the healthcare industry, you are likely to transfer bugs from work to your home environment.
Pay Attention to Your Family’s Immune Health
Keeping your family healthy will prevent you from spreading germs throughout your household and at school. Ward off illnesses by maintaining a healthy diet at home. Teach kids the importance of choosing a whole-food snack and meal options that contain plenty of nutrients and are minimally processed.
Smoothies are ideal for getting health-boosting vitamins and minerals into your family’s bodies. Pack them with fruits such as mangos, oranges, and strawberries. Add an extra dose of nutrition by blending in some fresh greens, such as spinach or kale.
You should also aim to stay active throughout the school year. Exercise can keep your immune system strong. Instead of sitting your little ones in front of screens on the weekends, get some fresh air. Connecting as a family can also help you ward off disease.
Teach Healthy Habits
Kids consistently get the message that they should share. But there are some things that they can keep to themselves.
Water bottles are essential for keeping children hydrated at school. When they drink plenty of fluids, kids may be better able to fend off viruses. Proper hydration may trigger an immune response that fights off colds and the flu. Children should drink between 5 and 10 glasses of water per day.
Limit juice and soda, which are loaded with sugar. Too much sugar can cause inflammation, which makes you more susceptible to sickness.
But kids shouldn’t share their water bottles or any other implements used for eating or drinking with friends. You might want to give each child their own water bottle that’s labeled with their name. That way, germs stay put. Wash water bottles in hot, soapy water every day, and make sure that you dry them thoroughly.
You can also teach children not to share hats or brushes. These could spread lice.
Some other healthy habits to teach your child include:
• Not to bite their nails
• Not to put their fingers in their mouths, noses or eyes
• To help you wipe down germy areas, such as doorknobs, remote controls, and phones
Make Sure That They Get Enough Rest
Getting enough hours of high-quality sleep can set the body up for wellness. If you and your kids have a busy schedule, going to bed early can be challenging. But you can promote healthy sleep habits in your child in a number of ways.
Get into a routine that includes winding down at the end of the day. Perhaps the family can read together after dinner before the kids’ showers, brush their teeth and hit the sack. Limiting electronics at least one hour before bedtime can help children fall asleep more quickly.
If your child seems consistently exhausted, you might need to watch their behavior instead of the clock when deciding on a bedtime. Kids who act up in the evening hours may be overtired. Although they seem like they have a lot of energy and won’t be able to sleep, they’re actually running on adrenaline fumes. Consider making their bedtime earlier to help them fall asleep faster and get more hours of shuteye.
Help Them De-Stress
Stress can make people more prone to sickness. If you live a high-stress lifestyle, you’re not doing yourself or your family any favors. Parents should develop practices that help them relax so that they don’t catch a cold that they pass to the rest of the family.
Many parents don’t realize that their kids are stressed too. Continuous anxiety can put your kids at risk of developing an illness when they’re exposed to germs.
Your child may be more stressed out than you think. Kids worry about pleasing their parents, getting good grades and fitting in with their peers. All of this pressure can leave them vulnerable to disease.
Help children develop positive mental health habits by talking to them frequently. Make sure that they know that you’re open to listening to them. Encourage anxiety-lowering practices, such as meditation and exercise.
Schools should help children learn and grow. It shouldn’t be a place where illnesses get passed around for months on end. If you do your part, you can prevent your kids from sharing germs at school and bringing them home.