5 Tips to Help Keep Kids Healthy
Most parents know that sneezes and sniffles are bound to happen throughout the school year as kids share not only their adventures, but also their germs. So how can you help keep your kids (and yourself!) feeling healthy throughout the school year?
1. Pack Water Bottles
Smaller children don’t always know to keep their mouth off the water fountain when they drink, so be sure to pack them a reusable, BPA-free water bottle every day, and get them into the habit of putting it in the dishwasher or washing it thoroughly every night.
2. Teach Kids Not to Share
That’s right, sharing isn’t always caring, at least when it comes to germs. Teach your kids to avoid sharing personal items, such as water bottles, earbuds, food and other items that could spread germs.
3. Eat Well
A healthy immune system relies on a good intake of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. This means getting your kids to eat their vegetables and fruits, and making sure to include other foods linked to healthy immune function, such as ginger and garlic.
4. Sleep Well
Help your kids realize that it makes sense to go to bed a little earlier during school nights, in order to get adequate rest. Set a good example by having a cut-off point for TV, computers and smartphones at least an hour before bedtime, so natural melatonin synthesis isn’t disrupted by the light emitted from these devices. Without adequate sleep, not only do kids have a hard time concentrating, they’re also not promoting a healthy immune system.
Children aged 10-17 need between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep a night; children aged 5-10 need 10-11 hours of sleep; and children aged 3-5 need 11-13 hours of sleep.
5. Wash Your Hands
It seems obvious, but the fact is that most people simply forget or do not wash their hands effectively, meaning that every time they touch something or someone, they run the risk of spreading germs. With smaller kids, use this as a teaching exercise by getting them to repeat the alphabet while they scrub their hands. Older kids should get into the habit of counting to at least 20 before rinsing. And, be sure to encourage handwashing after petting an animal, handling or eating food, coughing or sneezing, handling money and, for older kids who babysit, changing a diaper.
Some parents have started packing hand sanitizer for their kids and while this is better than nothing, it’s still important to teach kids to wash their hands with warm water and soap after touching things that may carry germs, such as classroom objects.
And, of course, to help promote good health for all, keep them away from school when necessary.