Schools are germ magnets. Children can easily pass on viruses to their classmates, who come home sick (and pretty soon the whole family is down with the flu, too!). In fact, surveys show that kids have an average of about six colds a year.
While colds aren’t life-threatening, each day that your child stays home from school makes it more difficult for him to catch up on school work and do well in the next lessons. Here are some tips on protecting your child from the exposure to germs, and reducing school sick days.
Build the habit of washing hands
Washing hands is your child’s best defense against catching a virus, since most of them are spread from hand-to-mouth contact. Inculcate the habit of washing hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. He should do this after he uses the bathroom, before eating any food, and after playing outdoors or coming home from school. (Try this song for kids on Washing Hands, to the tune of Jingle Bells, on o5.com’s Youtube channel.)
Keep up with vaccinations
Keep track of your child’s schedule for vaccines and booster shots. So you don’t forget, ask your doctor for the schedule of shots for the year and then write it down in your planner or family calendar.
Sharing isn’t always nice
While we teach our kids to share toys and books, it’s best to tell them not to share utensils, brushes, water bottles, straws and cups.
Don’t ignore the sniffles
Be considerate! Even if your child only has a cold, keep him home from playdates or school—especially if he is only in pre-school and probably won’t remember to cover his nose when he sneezes.
Boost his immune system
Give your child foods that are rich in nutrients. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be a regular part of their diet. If they’re a picky eater, ask your pediatrician about a multivitamin or a fortified milk that can help provide extra nutrition or boost their immune system.
At least 30 minutes of exercise a day can dramatically improve your child’s resistance to disease. Make sure he isn’t always watching TV. Encourage him to go biking or play ball games.
Kids need about nine hours of sleep every night. If your child has trouble settling down, reduce sodas and other sweet foods after 3 pm, and schedule a quiet and soothing activity (like a bath, book, or listening to music) just before he goes to bed.
Photo from jetlib.com