Say No to Springtime Sniffles – Keep the Kids Healthy With These 8 Tips!

During any normal time of year, sickness can spread throughout a household or classroom faster than a kid sprinting towards the rustle of a chip bag. One kid gets a cough and the rest will start sneezing before you can stock up on soup. 

Since the advent of COVID-19, we’ve been on high alert to stay healthy and stop the spread. Global pandemic notwithstanding, there are ways to promote wellness and prevent sickness at any time of year. Read on for eight tips to avoid the tissue pile-up and help your kids tackle this sniffle season!

1. Proper Handwashing

It was a surprising revelation for many to realize how insufficient our hygiene habits were pre-COVID. Extensive research confirms that washing your hands frequently with warm water and soap is a simple, effective way to curb the spread of germs. 

Just a quick splash of water won’t do though. Take the time to show your child how to thoroughly wash both of their hands, as well as how long. The “Happy Birthday” song or their favorite song chorus (as long as either are sung twice) are great approximations of how long they should be soaping up. 

Advise your kid(s) to wash:

  • Before eating 
  • After eating
  • After using the toilet
  • After coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose

2. Keep Up with Vaccinations

The American Academy of Pediatrics has reported a drop in the number of those getting necessary vaccinations during the pandemic [1]. Vaccinations, however, can help prevent sixteen different diseases. And, while the COVID vaccine is not yet available for children, you can still take precautions to prevent your child from being vulnerable to other diseases. 

Be sure to consult your pediatrician, and check whether your child is up to date with his or her vaccinations! Also, getting the seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to avoid falling victim to flu season. 

3. Guaranteeing a Good Night’s Rest

 

child sleeping with dog

 

Consistent sleep can promote a stronger immune system, enabling proper, healthy immune function. On the other hand, sleep deficiency, whether short or long-term, can throw the whole system off-balance and lead to illness. Without enough sleep, the body’s ability to produce cytokines, proteins that help fight infection and inflammation, is limited [2].

Contrary to what your child may believe, enforcing bedtime at a reasonable hour isn’t just something you do to be a mean parent. It’s actually for their benefit! Plus, a well-rested child is better prepared to take on the day without any grouchiness.

4. Eat Well and Right

This applies to everyone. The human body needs a balanced diet to operate effectively. Receiving essential nutrients provides the body with the energy it needs to fight infections and support healthy function. 

Provide colorful meals that include a generous amount of vegetables and fruit to support your child’s immune system. Foods rich in vitamins A and C are especially excellent!

Tip: Don’t skip out on breakfast either.

5. Discuss Personal Hygiene Habits

 

mother and daughter washing hands

 

It can be easy to forget that common sense isn’t all too common, especially when it involves kids. For that reason, verbalizing and emphasizing hygiene rules can change hygiene from an afterthought to a lifelong habit. 

Here are some great reminders:

  • Cover the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue after. If a tissue isn’t accessible, then try to cough or sneeze into your elbow. 
  • Use hand sanitizer when it isn’t possible to wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or face in general. 
  • Give people personal space, especially distancing if you or the other person is sick.
  • Wearing a mask while sick is a wonderful way to help protect others.

These healthy habits are incredibly effective preventative actions that can reduce or slow the spread of illnesses. They’re also a great way to practice empathy, reminding your child to take the health of others into consideration!

6. Avoid Sharing

Sharing is caring, but this principle doesn’t apply to certain items. Especially in this time, passing physical items back and forth should take a backseat. Rather, it can be a great time to encourage the sharing of time, attention, thoughts, and other non-physical objects or actions. 

Often a breeding ground for germs, the following items shouldn’t be shared to discourage the spread of germs:

  • Cups
  • Straws
  • Utensils
  • Napkins
  • Scarves
  • Hats
  • Masks

A good rule of thumb to relate to your child is that anything that comes into contact with his or her face or mouth should not be shared. Additionally, if your child does catch a cold or other contagious illness, keep them home to prevent any potential spread. 

7. Stay Active

 

man and child playing soccer

 

Whether it takes place inside or outside, physical activity is essential for your child’s health! Regular, moderate exercise can help boost immune system activity. As a matter of fact, several studies support that remaining physically active can help decrease cases of the cold or flu. 

8. Reduce Stress

Everyone experiences stress—even our kids. Openly communicating with your child and providing a way to process his or her emotions can provide health benefits, as well as improve your relationship. 

The scientific reason for this, though, is that increased levels of stress hormones can negatively impact immunity. To prevent physical and mental burnout, set aside time to destress and encourage your child to flex their creativity. The benefits extend well beyond spring sickness prevention!

Logically, too much stress isn’t great for anyone. Everybody needs a break once in a while! 

Stay Safe Out There

When all is said and done, there’s unfortunately no way to bubble-wrap your child and truly prevent him or her from ever catching any sort of illness. What you can do is make sure he or she communicates when they are feeling unwell. You can also stay on the lookout and be knowledgeable about different kinds of sicknesses. This way you can help provide care and any necessary medication as early as possible. 

Make sure, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, to keep your own wellness in mind. Your health should be a priority too!

 

 

SOURCES

[1] https://www.aappublications.org/news/2020/05/08/covid19vaccinations050820 

[2] https://health.clevelandclinic.org/want-boost-childs-immune-system-5-tips/