Schools are now reopening. The return of on-campus classes has added to parents’ worries. Aside from making time for their kids’ activities or shopping for school supplies, they also need to keep their children healthy and happy. Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic just amplifies concerns. How can we protect our children from something we can’t even see?
Sharing Is No Longer Caring—It’s Spreading Infection
COVID-19 isn’t the only virus we have to worry about. From the common cold to chicken pox, there are many illnesses a single child can spread throughout the entire school. Kids sneeze into their hands and touch doorknobs that everybody else uses. They cough inside classrooms, where nearby children can breathe in the droplets. As they share items and environments, they also share viruses and germs. Good old proper hygiene can remedy that, but younger children aren’t exactly the cleanest of the lot.
If you don’t correct bad habits as early as now, your children will continue making unhealthy choices. You don’t want your eight-year-old to grow up into an adult who doesn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, do you? Thus, parents need to teach their children how to live healthy as early as now.
Here are a few great habits we can instill in our children to keep them from getting sick this school year:
- Handwashing saves lives
Let’s start with the basics. Washing your hands is a very simple yet very effective way to keep viruses and germs from spreading. No matter how old your children are, they should know the importance of handwashing.
To keep things interesting, make a game of it! Challenge them to see who can make the soapiest suds. You can also change things up by singing something aside from “Happy Birthday.” We like scrubbing our hands while singing “No Scrubs” by TLC!
Now that they know they should wash their hands, they need to learn when to do it. Children (and even adults) should soap up:
- Before eating
- After using the toilet
- After sneezing or coughing.
For added protection, wash the hands after touching common objects such as blackboard erasers and tables.
- Nutrition matters
Aside from handwashing, also teach your children how to choose the right food to eat. Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish might taste delicious, but only as a treat now and then. Prepare healthy yet yummy meals and snacks so that they’ll learn to love their fruits and veggies.
Are they still turning their noses up at that casserole you prepared? Try offering a variety of options instead. This way, you stay in control of their nutrition, but they still have the autonomy to choose. For kids who aren’t ready to give up the junk food, you can include more nutritious ingredients in their favorites. Mac and cheese with cauliflower, anyone?
- Oral health is wealth
Now that we’ve covered what’s getting in their bellies, let’s also be mindful of what’s going on in their mouths. Children with poor oral health will have problems with speaking, playing, eating, and even learning. Cavities can be so painful that even adults will opt out of a day of work because of them. We wouldn’t want our children to deal with that pain.
Luckily, we can prevent cavities. Make sure that your children brush thoroughly at least twice per day. Avoid food and drinks that can erode their enamel at all costs. Lastly, visit your kids’ dentist every six months for cleanings and checkups that will keep their teeth in tiptop shape.
- Doctors know best
Another clinic you should visit now and then is your pediatrician’s. Just because they’re no longer babies doesn’t mean that your children don’t need well-child exams. An annual visit adds ammunition to your fight against bacteria and viruses. They’ll check your children to see if something is amiss or ensure that your kids get the necessary vaccines.
Your pediatrician may very well be the best person to give you advice on how to keep your children healthy. Behavioral issues? Nutritional advice? Ear infections? You name it; they know what to do.
Other Precautions They Can Take at School
Remember how we told you that sharing is spreading infection? Children love to share things, so you may have to remind your children not to. That might go against what their kindergarten teacher says, but it’s better safe than sorry.
You should also give your children hand sanitizer in case they can’t wash their hands. Pack handkerchiefs for them to cover their noses or mouths with when they sneeze or cough. And since they’re touching a lot of objects in the classrooms, make sure that they know to keep their hands away from their mouths, eyes, and noses.
Even if they get sick with all these precautions, know that you are making more informed choices with your children’s healthcare. We hope that they have a happy and healthy school year!