At the forefront of every parent’s mind and responsibility is to keep our children safe (in the areas that are under our control). There are times and situations where it is very much out of our control, and we aren’t there and unable to affect the surroundings of their safety. Any parent will tell you that kids pass around germs and bring home more sickness from school than from anywhere else. As the school year starts back, whether from the holidays or after summer break, how can we send them to school without constantly being worried about their health and exposure while they are there? What are some tips and tricks we can teach them to protect themselves from germs while they are at school? How can we know that we are doing absolutely everything we can to ensure their health and safety? Let’s look at ten ways, methods, and tips for keeping your child healthy as they are in school, day in and day out.
Hand Washing (the correct way)
If we heard once, we’ve heard a million times the importance of washing your hands as an effective way to kill germs and stop the spread of disease. Proper hand washing is not a new idea; it has been a means of killing germs and bacteria on our hands for centuries, but the spread and transmission of illness are at the forefront of all our minds these days, and teaching children how to wash their hands and the importance of doing so properly is at an all-time high. Effective hand washing should last for a minimum of twenty seconds (longer is better) with soap and warm water (when possible). The best procedure is to use vigorous hand-to-hand friction with soap before washing the soap off underwater. When there is no water and soap available to wash hands, hand sanitizer is the next best option. Effective hand sanitizer must contain at least sixty percent alcohol, applied in the same fashion as hand washing, rubbing hands together, covering all surfaces of hands and fingers. Hand to mouth, hand to the nose, and hand to eye contact is what transmits a lot of germs to our bodies, so make sure you educate your kids not to touch their eyes, mouth, or nose when they are at school or in an environment where they are not able to wash their hands frequently. Another good way to teach them about not spreading their germs is to encourage them to sneeze and cough into their elbow or upper arm area; that way, their germs aren’t distributed to those around them.
It’s essential to stay on top of all the immunizations/vaccinations that your child is due to have, according to their pediatrician. Your child’s doctor should have a schedule that you follow, based on the child’s age, which immunizations they need at certain times. Most are necessary to enter school, but others like the flu shot are based on your choice, as their parent, and the advice and recommendation of your child’s pediatrician.
Support Their Immune System
A healthy immune system is what we want for our children; the ability for their bodies to fight off whatever germ or bacteria that they encounter is essential to keep our kids healthy and the main goal for everyone. The main factors that are necessary to keep the immune system functioning properly are: eating a healthy diet, getting a proper amount of sleep, getting frequent exercise, keeping stress at a minimum, taking time for fun and having lots of laughter, and using proper handwashing techniques frequently throughout each day.
Build Good Sleeping Habits And Patterns
A good night’s sleep is vital for everyone, especially for kids. Their bodies are constantly changing, constantly growing. Sleep refuels the body and is essential to keep one strong and empower the immune system to fight off germs and bacteria. Kids ages five to eleven need between nine and eleven hours of sleep a night. Not only is sleep essential, but to keep it consistent, they need a regular sleep schedule. The same bedtime and wakeup time is key for them, both physically and mentally. A good night’s rest is key for good and clear brain function. Exactly what they need to be able to learn and excel at school and empower their bodies to stay healthy.
Healthy Meals And Snacks
Making sure our children eat a well-balanced diet is always a top priority for parents, but even more so when looking at the fact that healthy food builds a strong body, which in turn fuels the immune system to fight illness. The eating habits you establish for them as kids will translate into their teen and adult years. A healthy breakfast to start each day, one that consists of dairy, protein, whole grains, or a combination of all, will provide your child with energy that can help them focus, learn, and do well in school. A diet of vegetables, fruits, dairy, and lean protein is important. Eating foods rich in vitamin C helps empower your immune system, and vitamin D will help to strengthen their bones as they grow and develop.
Be On The Lookout For Signs Of Anxiety And Stress
Let’s be honest, school itself can be stressful. Homework, tests, projects, on top of extracurricular activities, changing schools, and life situations, it’s normal for kids to feel some stress. As parents, we should be on the lookout for signs that stress is affecting our kids and causing them anxiety and interrupting their regular routine, behavior, and well-being. Help them find ways to cope with what is stressful, find things they enjoy to help de-stress them, and remember that sometimes outside help with a counselor is a great way to help them cope with difficulty.
Exercise Is Necessary
We all need exercise every day. Kids are no exception. Kids need movement and physical exercise, and activity every single day. A minimum of sixty minutes a day of exercise helps children to sleep better at night, be more focused at school, use the exercise time to burn off stress, and help keep their bodies healthy. Even if you are stuck at home because of winter weather or quarantine, there are thousands of kid-friendly workout videos online that they can use to keep them moving and healthy.
Vitamins And Nutrition Supplements
We talked earlier about healthy foods and how important they are for children, but I know kids can be the pickiest eaters on earth! You can’t convince them to eat every single vegetable and fruit you put in front of them. Lack of healthy foods leads to lack of vitamins and minerals, and you want them to have a healthy immune system and know they are getting what their bodies need. There are some great vitamins and supplements available for kids today, but as always, discuss all options or thoughts with your child’s pediatrician first. After discussing their diet, what they eat, what they don’t, your child’s doctor can inform you what is best for them to take.
Make Sure They Stay Hydrated
As a parent, trying to keep your kids hydrated can be so frustrating! All they want is sugary drinks, all I want is for them to drink lots of water! Staying hydrated, especially with water and some servings of milk, can help kids be in a better mood, feel better and stronger, help out with their digestion, keep them from feeling weak, and help maintain a healthy weight. Avoid giving them sugary, caffeine-filled sodas and unhealthy beverages as much as possible. The good habits they form when they are young will stick with them into adulthood.
Emphasize That It’s Not A Good Idea To Share Personal Items With Friends
One of the greatest joys of childhood is having friends to share fun, laughter and life with. Problem is, sharing germs with our friends can cause issues sometimes. Talk to your kids about not eating or drinking after their friends, not sharing food, tissues, chapstick, hats, clothes, toys, devices, or any items that could track germs back and forth. I know it sounds extreme, but in these times, extreme is how we need to operate.
Actions Back Up Words
I know and have experienced with my own kids that they may listen to what I say, but when they see me actually do the things I tell them to do, I get a more positive response and see them put into action the behaviors I emphasize that they need to be strong and stay healthy. Another good way to help you in your journey to being healthy is to incorporate more all-natural items into your routine. One of the most helpful you will find is xylitol. Xylitol is an all-natural substance, it works to attack pathogenic bacteria that wants to live on your teeth and gums, gives your mouth an alkaline environment, encourages saliva production, and is fluoride free and safe to be swallowed. Call it a safe, bacteria fighting tool for your mouth! You can get some Spry Xylitol Tooth Gel from Brilliant Oral Care, it’s safe and recommended for all ages! Stay safe and stay protected, in every way possible, you and your entire family!
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