As a parent, it can seem like a huge task to keep your kids healthy. This is especially challenging when there’s sickness going around, if your kids are in school, or if it seems like your child is frequently getting sick.
It’s true that not every bout of illness your kids get will be within your power to prevent. But there are things you can do to prevent the spread of germs sometimes.
Here are 19 ways to prevent sickness in kids- even if they’re in school.
QUICK DISCLOSURE / DISCLAIMER:
The CDC recommends scrubbing hands for at least 20 seconds each time they’re washed.
If you want to make sure your kids are washing their hands long enough, you can check out this 20-second hand-washing timer for kids (it also times teeth-brushing for 2 minutes.)
Children should be discouraged from doing things like biting off of another kids’ sandwich, sharing drinks at school, etc.
If you’re okay with your kids sharing food & drink with certain individuals- such as immediate family members, make sure they know who they can and can’t share with.
Having adequate rest helps children to keep their immune system stronger. While this doesn’t mean they won’t get sick, it certainly puts them in a better position to fight off germs.
If you’re having trouble getting your kids in a good bedtime routine, here are 9 tips to get kids to sleep on time.
Younger kids don’t always need a full bath every single day. But as we know, besides hands, there are some areas of their body that should be cleaned daily.
At minimum, a child’s face, teeth, and private areas should be cleaned properly each day, as well as any additional areas that get dirty or stinky- depending on your child’s age and lifestyle.
Kids as young as toddlers can be taught to brush their teeth and wash themselves up.
This is a free printable teeth chart to reward toddlers for brushing their teeth.
It’s important to teach kids to respect personal space, and to avoid hugging, kissing, and touching people when anyone involved is sick.
When someone in our household is sick, we do try to humanely separate them from everyone else, depending on what is reasonable for their age and the situation.
Some classrooms try to keep these items stocked, but they may run out throughout the school year. So it’s good to make sure your child has their own supply if they are in school.
Teach them to use disinfectant wipes to wipe down shared objects or surfaces, (such as a desk that’s shared with multiple kids throughout the day.)
“Keep your hands out of your mouth, please!”
If your kids are anything like mine, you’ll need to repeat this multiple times to them.
But this is so important. I don’t know what it is but every child seems to be magnetically drawn to touching their face and mouth. And this is probably one of the easiest ways they get themselves sick.
So don’t give up in getting them in the habit of keeping their hands off of their face.
It’s important to disinfect commonly used areas of your home where bacteria and germs may be hiding in plain sight.
This includes areas such as the bathroom, door handles, drawer and cabinet handles, and kitchen counters.
A lot of times we’re worried about germs coming in from outside of our home.
It’s essential to make sure foods are cooked to the proper degree for safety, (especially if you cook meat,) and that they’re stored correctly.
You also want to use up perishable items before they spoil, toss food as soon as it’s unsafe, and refrigerate things that need to stay cold soon enough so bacteria doesn’t grow.
Don’t let your kids eat raw foods that are unsafe to consume prior to cooking them to a certain temperature. And you want to make sure they don’t touch, handle, or prepare unsafe raw foods before they’re responsible enough to do so safely.
As parents, it’s important that we do our own research and take into account recommendations from doctors & health experts.
We can then make more informed decisions when it comes to our family’s health and preventative measures we should take.
Staying away from large crowds is especially important during seasons where your kids are at higher risk for getting sick or while there are outbreaks of illnesses in your region.
If my husband can watch the kids, I won’t take them with me shopping during cold & flu season.
When I have taken my toddlers grocery shopping or on errands, I’ve gone at less busier times. In the city where I live, early morning and in the evening after dinner are the least busiest times to go grocery shopping for me.
When I go at the less busier times, I spend less than 1/2 the time in the store, and we come into contact with way less people. Going through the store faster also means my kids can’t touch as much stuff. And overall they are exposed to less germs.
Update 11/12/2020: At this time I don’t take my kids in any stores due to local circumstances and the risk of them getting sick. (My husband is able to watch them, so this is what we personally do.)
Yes, it’s good for kids to do activities and get out of the house year-round. I do think it’s a good idea for kids to have life experience and watch you do day-to-day tasks that they’ll need to learn, as well as to go out in public.
But we have to balance these life experiences with taking precautions, especially during times when illnesses are going around.
It’s important that children get all the nutrients they need. That doesn’t mean they can never eat junk food or things that aren’t super healthy. But try to limit these, and balance their diet with foods that are relatively healthy.
You can also talk to their doctor about adding additional natural supplements/vitamins, such as a natural multivitamin for kids.
When our kids watch us practicing good hygiene and taking care of ourselves, they are more likely to develop healthy habits themselves.
It also protects them from getting sick from you– when you’re staying healthy yourself.
Let your kids see you eating healthy, exercising, and making other healthy decisions. Explain your choices to them and why you do the things you do.
It’s important to keep up with your children’s physicals and necessary routine care. Their doctor can assist you with maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your family, and address any medical issues that arise.
Sometimes preventative care can keep kids from getting sick. That’s the goal!
Normally I’m all for re-wearing (what still seems to be) clean clothing to save on time, detergent, and fabric wear.
But when there are more germs than normal around, this goes out the window for us. The same goes for changing out and washing things like bath mats, hand towels and bedding more often.
To the degree appropriate for their age, teach your kids about staying healthy, having good hygiene, and avoiding germs.
It’s important for kids to understand that what they do matters when it comes to health.
We’ve had frank conversations with our kids explaining that when there are illnesses going around, it’s possible for them to spread these germs to someone else who may get dangerously ill, even if they do not get sick themselves.
So we emphasize how we should avoid doing things that can spread germs, even when we’re in good health.
When the temperature is cold, it’s important to make sure kids dress appropriately- with clothing items such as hats, gloves, boots, winter coats, and scarves.
Also consider staying inside on days it’s just too cold.
Doing a daily cleaning routine will keep your home in a cleaner state, which decreases the spread of germs at home.
I used to really struggle with keeping my house- well- not a total mess. Something that’s helped me is developing a daily cleaning routine for the main areas of our home that are the most used.
Now my house is in a relatively clean state with a clean kitchen table, and I don’t have to worry about old dirty dishes hiding out under clutter. It’s just one piece of the ‘staying healthy puzzle’, but it is certainly important.
And even though right now I am actually fighting off a cold myself, because I have the habit of a daily cleaning routine, my house is still somewhat manageable and not in a crazy dirty state. (There may be some toys on the floor, but it’s mostly clean.)
If you struggle with maintaining a clean home like I did (for years), download my free daily cleaning routine checklists here. I designed these with the method that finally keeps my house under control for good.
Help your kids understand they’ll have much more fun when their friends, family, and themselves aren’t sick. This will encourage them to try harder to stay healthy.
To help kids do this, I designed this free printable Healthy Lifestyle Pictures Match Game you can play with them.
So those are 19 ways to keep kids from getting sick. By staying aware of what’s going on in your region, taking precautions, and teaching good health & hygiene habits, you can stop your kids from getting sick unnecessarily.
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