While back to school time may have parents breathing a sigh of relief and blissfully enjoying the silence of their households, we tend to forget the drawbacks to having our children enclosed in classrooms for hours a day with other fellow children.
I’m sorry to even bring it up, but back to school time also means back to colds, flu and other contagious diseases time. Every fall I tend to forget this fact until one of my children comes home with the latest cold virus that’s been circling the schoolyard.
I’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to help out parents in the battle against the back to school germs and hopefully it will help keep our little ones feeling better and improve those attendance records!
Oh, I know, this one has been ingrained into our children’s brains since birth but it is the most important step of all. While hand washing as much as possible in cold/flu season is preferable, for children we should focus on the two main times: before eating anything and after the use of the washroom. Teachers and lunch workers are the best aides for this at school, ask at your children’s schools if the staff members can give the kids reminders before lunchtime.
Mini bottles of alcohol hand sanitizer tucked into your child’s backpack/desk might just do the trick for clean hands. They won’t have to run to the washroom or be excused from class, they can clean their hands right there. Make sure to ask your school’s policy on this however!
There are many options now for hand sanitizers that don’t have our children pouring alcohol all over their hands all day. Some children love to overdo it, resulting in chapped hands, which then don’t get washed because it’s too painful, no matter how “gentle” the sanitizer claims to be. Natural wipes are not thought to be as effective but we used them consistently throughout the last year and to be honest, we had the healthiest winter ever!
This goes against everything we have taught our children so far in life, but not sharing items such as pencils, pens or – heaven forbid!- water bottles is a great way to wage the war on germs. Classrooms that don’t have shared supplies work well to prevent the sharing of germs.
Build Your Child’s Immunity
Skip the fake fruit gummies and send real fruit in your child’s lunch instead. Maintaining a balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, healthy carbs and proteins combined with proper rest means a healthier, happier children but it also means that their little bodies are better able to fight off viruses and infections. Talk to your doctor about vitamin supplements if you are concerned that your child isn’t getting enough.
Teach Proper Germ Etiquette
Coughing into your elbow, sneezing into tissues then throwing them away and always washing hands after you blow your nose are the three main staples of germ etiquette that our children should know and practice until they become second nature to them.
To immunize or not is a personal family choice, but it has been proven that it minimizes the spread of illnesses. Do your research on the subject and decide if it’s right for your family or not.
Keep Sick Children At Home
While it’s not always possible, we need to take responsibility for our part in this and keep truly sick children at home. This minimizes the germs they spread to other classmates and teachers alike in the most effective way possible.