Daycare centers & schools are the #1 way to spread germs and during the cold and flu season that is the last thing any parent wants. It’s hard to be 100% sure that your kiddos won’t get sick but there are some steps you can take to help give them the best chance.
Even if your children don’t attend school or daycare, germies are everywhere. Older siblings are the leading cause of stay at home kids getting sick. But keep in mind even your trip to the local grocery store can be a germ zone. So these healthy rules apply to everyone!
Good hygiene is a must! Hand sanitizer is a great start and easy for all ages. You can get it pretty cheaply too! Pick up a few bottles to keep at home and encourage your children to use it often. Send key chain sized bottles with kids to school. Teach them to wash their hands before and after eating and using the toilet. Hand sanitizer is easy and quick so if kids can’t do a good job washing with soap and water start with sanitizer to get the idea of rubbing hands nicely. As kids get older you can start encouraging using soap and water. Teaching kids to cover their mouth when sneezing and coughing is essential. I know in particular my 3 year old often “forgets” yet my 18 month old is pretty good about it all the time. Teach kids to sneeze/cough into their elbows or a tissue. Encourage them to wash after coughing or sneezing into their hands to help eliminate the spread of germs. Lysol sprays are also a good start. Make sure to Lysol the most touched surfaces that aren’t often thought about like: door handles, microwaves, toilet handles, sink controls & the fridge. All these places easily harbor many germs and are often a quick contact from hands to mouth. Good oral hygiene is also a good way to prevent the spread of germs.
Keep up with laundry once a sickie appears. Keeping bedding freshly laundered during a cold can help cut the spread of germs via bedding. I know for my kids in particular they drag their blankets all over the house when they’re not feeling well and that’s a great way to spread germs. Try using 2 blankets when kids are sick so you can keep them rotating for washing. Pain in the butt, absolutely, however, I promise you it’ll be great when only one of your four kids have a cold rather than the whole house.
As much as your choice of play areas during cold weather is inside malls and fast food chains, avoid these like the plague. These are germs most favorite places to hang out. Not cleaned well and warm are great for colds to hang out and stay. Avoiding them will ensure your best chance at not catching something unwanted. If you need to get out of the house and let little ones burn off some steam, you’ll be better off to bundle up and just brave the outside for a short time (obviously within reason!).
Make sure to keep sick kids home! By sending sick kids to school (yes, even over the sniffles) does several things. It exposes their compromised immune system to even more airborn germs AND it spreads their germs to their classmates (which will likely get passed back to them!). If you’re worried about kids missing school and getting behind be sure to ask teachers to send homework home or even via email (everything is so electronic these days!). You’ll be happy you kept sniffly kids home when their only missing one day of school rather than 4-5! This does include things like play groups, churches, and grocery store trips if possible.
It doesn’t hurt to up those vitamins and OJ too! The added vitamins will help keep immune systems strong. Always talk to your doctor about anything like this before you do it to make sure your kids aren’t getting too much of a good thing!
Oh, and don’t forget these rules absolutely apply to husbands because we don’t need an extra kid while he’s sick! wink, wink!