Ten Tips for Keeping Kids Well this Winter
While we can’t technically “winterize” our kids, we can be proactive about helping them be as healthy as possible through the season of snow and sneezing. Try these tips to protect against the spread of germs and promote good health.
1. Wash Your Hands
Teach your child to wash with soap and water before eating and after going to the bathroom or blowing her nose.
2. Keep Snuggly
Make sure you and your children are dressed in layers, along with a hat to trap body heat and mittens to protect against frost bite. Wearing boots not only keeps toes toasty, it also helps to prevent slips and falls.
3. Sweet Dreams
Sleep is an important way to boost the immune system. While most adults need at least 7 hours of restful sleep each night, younger children require anywhere from 10 to 13 hours.
4. Clean Up
Use disinfecting wipes or spray on frequently touched surfaces like door knobs, light switches, computer keyboards and car seats as well as toys and markers. Wash bedding in hot, soapy water, especially if your child has just gotten over a cold or flu.
5. Get Flu Shots
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age six months and older get the seasonal flu vaccine each year.
6. Eat Well
In addition to quality sleep, young bodies need lean protein, vitamin C-rich fruits and green leafy vegetables. Talk to your family doctor about the potential benefits of also adding a vitamin supplement.
7. Get Moving
Physical activity promotes good health. Sledding, skating, building a snow fort, these are all great ways to enjoy the season and get the heart pumping.
8. Use Hand Sanitizer
Encourage your child to use hand sanitizer before snack time or lunch and after using the classroom computer, pencil sharpener or drinking fountain. Give disinfecting wipes to your child’s teacher for general classroom use and give your child a bottle of sanitizer for his desk.
9. Keep It Covered
Teach your child to cover her mouth and nose with a tissue when she sneezes or coughs and then toss the tissue in the trash. Show her how to sneeze into the crook of her elbow—not her hands—if there are no tissues on hand. Tuck a package of tissues in her backpack and let her know she should use hand sanitizer after sneezing too.
10. Don’t Share Everything
We all want our children to be generous and willing to share, but there are some exceptions. Let your child know it is okay not to share water bottles or food at school or daycare, because it can spread germs.
What are some fun ways you can encourage your kids to wash their hands? How can you model good health habits for your kids this winter? Let us know in the comments below!