Tips to Protect Your Kids During Cold and Flu Season

Is there really a secret to keep your kids healthy during the cold and flu season? Probably not. But, there are healthy habits that kids and parents can practice encouraging wellness throughout the year. If you’re tired of your little ones constantly catching (and bringing home) the latest cold or flu circulating at school, try these simple wellness tips.

5 tips to help stop the spread of germs in school:

  1. Stay home when you're not well and encourage others to do the same. But wait! Your child has an important paper due. Keep them home, no matter what. Is your child too sick to comfortably take part in activities? Does your child need more care than the schools staff can handle? Can other children get sick from being near your child? If you answered yes to any of these questions, keep your child home from school. It's the best thing for everyone.

  2. Remind your children to wash their hands after touching their mouth, nose and eyes and after eating. We've all seen children rush through washing their hands after using the restroom or eating lunch. We've all done it! During this time of the year, though, it is extra important to teach children that they must wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. For the younger ones, make it a fun counting game or sing the ABC song. Remind your children why it is so important for them to wash their hands.

  3. Put hand sanitizer in your child’s backpack. It's true. There are times when washing your hands is not convenient. Perhaps you are busy, or your child is running from one activity to the next. Encourage regular hand washing, but also encourage the use of hand sanitizer. Be sure that they know the difference. Note: The hand sanitizer should have at least 60% alcohol to be effective.

  4. Practice good nighttime sleep routines. Getting enough sleep at night is important. Kids that don’t get quality sleep or enough rest are at a higher risk of getting colds and flu. Experts recommend 10-11 hours of sleep for school-age children, nightly. Help them wind down for at least ½ hour prior to bedtime. Turn off all lights and electronics and make sure the room is quiet. If you don't have a good nighttime routine established for your kids, now is the time to start.

  5. Don't get too close! Sometimes we don't even realize when our kids are getting ill. Some sneaky viruses start off slow and get more intense with time. That's why it's important to remind children not to get too close to their friends that appear sick and not to share liquids with friends.

Avoiding illness and the spread of germs when you have a child in school can seem impossible. But by taking a few extra steps, you might be able to decrease your chances of getting sick.