Let’s face it: kids don’t always have the most hygienic habits. Plus, their immune systems aren’t as developed as those of adults. This combination means that children often experience a greater risk of getting sick. Now that school has started and kids are in close proximity to one other daily, the potential for germs and viruses to circulate has further increased.
Getting sick isn’t just uncomfortable for your child—it can also cause them to miss school and sacrifice their education. Aside from getting their yearly flu shot, there are many natural ways to prevent their chances of infection. While it’s highly unlikely for a kid to go through an entire school year without getting at least one cold, you can still use some of these ways to keep your child from getting sick at school.
Stress the importance of hand-washing
Children’s hands are notoriously dirty. They frequently forget to wash them, and they often touch dirty surfaces. Unfortunately, children also tend to put their hands in their mouths, which directly transmits germs into their bodies. To reduce their chances of getting sick, it’s important to encourage them daily to wash their hands after going to the bathroom, before eating, and whenever they get their hands dirty.
Pack healthy lunches
Getting the proper amount of nutrients is essential to keeping children healthy and boosting their immune systems. As such, it’s important to pack their school lunches with a balanced variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Doing so will give them the nutrients they need to stay healthy and to fend off diseases. Foods high in vitamins C and D, such as oranges, broccoli, tuna, and strawberries, are especially beneficial for a healthy immune system.
Proper exercise is also an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is proven to have a number of health benefits, including boosting the immune system. Regular exercise can also give children the strength they need to fight of diseases or infections. To help your child get the exercise they need, consider getting them involved in a sport, or simply spend some time with them outside by going on a walk or being active at the local park.
Set a bedtime
If kids don’t get enough sleep, their risk for getting a cold or the flu significantly increases. Kids need more sleep than adults: according to Sleep.org, children in their elementary and middle school years should get nine to 11 hour of sleep per night. Make sure to set strict bedtimes that allow them to get all the rest they need.
Advise them to avoid sharing
Sharing is often a skill that parents try to teach their children, but kids also need to avoid swapping germs. As such, you should advise your child not to share drinks, food, or anything else that comes into contact with their mouth with their classmates or friends.
Teach them how germs are spread
Teaching kids how sicknesses spread can help them avoid unhealthy behavior. For example, by knowing that germs are spread when someone coughs or sneezes, they’ll know not to stand too close to others and avoid contact with people who are sick.