(Thanks to PediaCare for sponsoring this post. All opinions are mine, as I’m sure you know. The information that follows in not intended to be medical advice; it is intended to be the advice of a parent and former preschool teacher. Please contact a trusted medical professional for questions regarding your health or the health of your child.)
Ugh. Winter. I’m just not a fan of being cold. But you know what’s worse than being cold? Having a cold. Even worse? Having the flu. Worser than worse? When the whole family is sick.
This is why I do not mess around with colds and flu, let me tell you. No, no – let my KIDS tell you: I’m pretty serious about hand-washing around here. Didn’t wash your hands? NO SOUP FOR YOU.
It is not easy to keep kids healthy this time of year. After having been on a two week break from school, and away from other children for the most part, they are suddenly thrown back into the germ pool for 6-8 hours a day. So how can parents keep kids well during cold and flu season?
Tips For Staying Well
1) Hand Washing
The importance and effectiveness of hand washing as a method of keeping germs away was impressed upon me during my years as a preschool teacher. And in my class? Those two year-olds knew how to wash their hands like pros (that is, if professional hand washing was a thing). We practiced our numbers in English and Spanish as we washed, sang songs, did the alphabet. All of these things take 20-30 seconds, which is the recommended time for washing hands to get rid of the germs.
While learning the most effective way to wash hands is helpful, children need reminders — many reminders — especially if they are younger. There’s no harm in reminding them to wash their hands at school before they leave you for the day. And always make sure they (and you) wash hands as soon as they get home. No bonus points for bringing germs home.
If you don’t take care of your body, it can’t take care of you. Kids don’t know that yet so it’s up to us to make sure they are getting the appropriate amount of rest. That can vary by age and by child, so make sure you know what is recommended for your child’s age and where he or she falls on the average of what’s suggested.
This might mean being more strict about bedtimes, but it can also mean being strict about rest, period. If you notice your child is cranky and needs more rest, today may not be the best day for a play date.
3) Fresh Fruits & Veggies + Water
You can’t go wrong with fresh fruits and vegetables. If you have a picky eater and he or she only likes one fruit or one vegetable, then just keep giving them the thing they like during cold and flu season, as long as it’s a fresh fruit or veggie. When you are specifically trying to fend off the cold and flu germs, don’t worry about introducing jicama into their lives. Pick your battles.
We know water intake helps our grown-up bodies, so it’s not surprising that it helps our kiddos, is it? Staying hydrated helps our immune systems work better; when you are feeling a bit parched you are more susceptible to catching (and keeping) the germs that come your way. This is another area where children need reminders. Send them with a water bottle to school if your school allows it and challenge them to drink at least the whole bottle before they get home.
4) Keep Hands Out of the Mouth & Off of the Face
Do your children constantly have their hands in their mouths, nose, or somewhere on their face? Because Holy Phalanges mine do. The older one isn’t as bad as the younger one but it’s still almost more than I can take. Because this is how germs are spread. Do they not care? Do they enjoy being sick?
So this is something to remind the kiddos of as well. Our fingers do not belong in any of the holes in our face, despite the magnetic connection they seem to have in some kids. Remind them that that’s how the germs get in; most kids don’t like being sick because even if they don’t like school, being sick usually means missing something they like.
5) Hand Washing
Did I mention how important washing hands is? I really can’t emphasize this enough. If hand washing is not possible, keep hand sanitizer handy (see what I did there) or wet wipes. When I pick my four year-old up from preschool, right after I buckle her in I hand her a wipe to clean her hands. Again: no bonus points for bringing germs home.
Bonus: Supplements, Flu Shot, Exercise
Of course this was only a short list; there are many other ways to stay healthy. We always get our flu shot in this house. I believe in it. May it never prove me wrong…
Though proper rest is recommended, so is proper exercise. Our bodies function best when we use them how they were intended, so its not surprising that exercise boosts the immune system. Supplements can also help. Vitamins D and C are linked to immune system function as are several minerals.
When You Can’t Stop the Cold
Sometimes they’ll get sick anyway.
When they are running a fever and refusing the medicine because they don’t like the taste or you are trying to remember what the right dose is, try new PediaCare Smooth Melts.
These chewable, cherry flavored tablets contain acetaminophen, an often recommended fever reducer. The flavor was developed especially to appeal to kids who don’t like the taste of medicine and the dosing is much easier on the parents, in my opinion.
I’m giving away PediaCare’s newest product, Smooth Melts, as well as PediaCare’s Infant and Children’s Acetaminophen, Cough & Runny Nose, Cough & Congestion and Multi-Symptom Plus products to one lucky winner so you can try the products, too. You’ll also receive a copy of Dr. David Hill’s book, Dad to Dad: Parenting Like a Pro. He’s a father, pediatrician and PediaCare spokesperson. Enter via the Rafflecopter box below.
Thanks again to PediaCare for sponsoring this post and providing the giveaway prize.