The start of the school year is exciting for kids and families, especially because they are back to in-classroom learning. But it can also be a time when germs start to spread. Colds and flu have taken a backseat to Covid for the past couple of years, but they are still around. A new player to the field this year is monkeypox. Here are some tips to help keep your children and family healthy during the school year:
1. Get vaccinated
The best way to protect yourself and your family from getting sick are to get vaccinated. Make sure everyone in your family is up-to-date on their vaccinations, including flu shots.
2. Wash your hands often and well
Handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs. Teach your kids to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, and make sure they do it often, especially before they eat and after they use the restroom. 20 seconds can seem like a very long time for a younger child. Have them sing their ABCs while they wash their hands.
3. Cover your coughs and sneezes
When you or your child coughs or sneezes, make sure to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve. This will help prevent germs from spreading.
4. Avoid touching your face
Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth can spread germs. Teach your kids to avoid doing this, and make sure you do it yourself as well.
5. Clean and disinfect surfaces
Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces in your home, especially ones that are frequently touched, like door handles, light switches, and countertops.
6. Make sure you and your children are getting enough sleep
A good night’s sleep helps them focus and pay attention in class, as well as make better decisions. Pick an appropriate bedtime for each child that will yield a minimum of 8 hours of sleep, and stick to it!
7. Eating a healthy, balanced diet
This helps promote a strong immune system which is important to fight off illnesses.
8. Getting enough exercise and playtime
Doing outdoor activities as a family is a great way to ensure the whole family is staying active. Be sure to have fun at whatever you are doing. “Laughter is the best medicine” is a saying for a reason.
9. Managing the stress level of the house
Stress compromises the immune system and makes your body a more hospitable environment for germs and viruses to thrive and flourish. When you are stressed, your children are stressed. Then there are stresses for them at school.
Peer pressure, mean kids, homework, getting good grades, struggling with certain subjects, and any number of other concerns. Make sure the entire family has healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with their stresses.
10. Wash your hands
I know this was already #2 in the list, but it is so important it is worth mentioning again at the close. Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water. It is one of the best defenses around for staying healthy. Germs hate soap!
As summer draws to a close and your children return to the classroom for an exciting new school year, you can relax and enjoy the ride. After all, you have a plan in place to protect your family from whatever “bug” is making the rounds.