Fighting Germs, Continuing to Learn
Fall is in full swing, and school is officially back in session! Of course, for many parents, this means another, less welcome season is on the horizon: cold and flu season. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that kids in school and daycare take home as many as 8 to 12 colds a year, and all together, kids lose about 22 million school days due to just the common cold.
The good news, however, is that as a parent, there is plenty you can do to reduce the amount of time your child spends sick. Here are our top five tips to help your child stay healthy, happy, and learning.
- Stock up on supplies.
As much as we want to encourage our kids to share, the truth of the matter is that when kids share things like crayons and pencils, they’re sharing germs, too. Make sure your child has all of his or her own art and writing supplies so they have less need to borrow other students’ supplies or use communal supplies. You should also send your child to school with antiviral tissues so that if he or she does get sick, the germs are less likely to spread around the classroom.
One last thing –one of the biggest hotspots for germs in the classroom is the communal pencil sharpener. If your child can steer clear from there, he or she is more likely to stay healthy.
2. Teach good hand washing skills.
Proper hand washing is one of the best things you can do to prevent the spread of germs. Make sure your child knows how and when to wash his or her hands. At the minimum, your child should spend at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing the happy birthday song twice) washing his or her hands under warm, soapy water. And your child should wash his or her hands after using the restroom, when he or she blows his or her nose or sneezes into the hands, and before meals.
3. Remember that apples aren’t just for teachers.
While an apple a day may not be enough to keep the doctor away, a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and veggies, lean meats, healthy dairy, and whole grains can help your child stay healthy. If your child is a picky eater, supplement with a child’s multivitamin. Don’t spend too much effort trying to stock your child’s diet with supposedly immune-boosting foods. Of course, if your child happens to love citrus fruits, spinach, yogurt, or any of the other healthy foods out there that are often said to boost immunity, more power to them!
4. Teach your child to avoid too much physical contact with other students, especially those who are sick.
We know, we know: kids are often very affectionate with each other, and it’s adorable to watch two kids with their arms around each other or their heads tilted close together as they read or study. Unfortunately, germs and other nasties, like head lice, use that closeness to spread from kid to kid. Teach your child the importance of setting healthy boundaries and avoiding direct physical contact with people who aren’t feeling well.
5. Make sure your child has all of his or her physician-recommended vaccines, including the flu shot.
We can’t recommend this enough. Vaccines are the reason why so many of our kids are as healthy as they are. The risk that your child might have an adverse reaction is infinitesimal, and the benefits are too great to list here.
Another thing – vaccination should be a family affair. Both parents and kids over 6 months of age should be getting their flu shots every year, unless, of course, your physician recommends otherwise.
Here at Creative Learning Center of the Lehigh Valley, it’s our hope that all of our kids will enjoy a healthy and happy school year, free of bugs and full of lots of fun. Give us a call today if you have questions about these tips. If we all work together, we can make this our healthiest year yet!