Now that the kids are all back in school, they’ve hopefully settled into a new routine and are making friends and learning new things. But they are also being exposed to all kinds of germs and bacteria. So it’s important to teach and reinforce good health habits throughout the year to keep them safe, healthy and at the top of their game. Here are some additional “lessons” to teach and reinforce with your kids.
Wash your hands. Frequent and proper hand washing is one of the best defenses against the transmission of bugs and bacteria. Remind kids to wash with warm water and soap before and after eating, after using the bathroom and after playing outside if possible. Get them to wash their hands as soon as they get home from school, too. Make a reward board for the little ones to get them in the habit.
Use hand sanitizer. Alcohol-based gels can kill a lot of germs and are a good alternative when traditional hand washing isn’t possible or practical. Kids may not be able to run to the restroom to wash their hands constantly so instruct them to use the sanitizer after using a computer mouse, gym and play equipment, or handling the class pet. Many schools now provide sanitizer dispensers in the halls and classrooms, but you can buy travel size containers for you child to keep in his/her pocket or backpack.
Don’t share germs. Instruct your kids not to drink out of someone else’s cup, water bottle, straw or soda can. If they’re going to share a candy bar or sandwich, advise them to divide it up first and then eat it rather then taking a bite where someone else already has.
Eat fruits and veggies. Keep your child’s immune system healthy with plenty of vitamins and minerals from the foods they eat. And because kids love bite-size food, try including grape tomatoes, baby carrots, celery sticks or orange sections with lunch and snacks. The easier it is to pop in their mouth, the more inclined they are to eat it. Fruits and veggies, along with adequate water intake, also help to keep kids well hydrated, another important component of good health.
Keep to a schedule. While starting a new school year can be exciting it can also be stressful. And stress can make us all, young or old, more susceptible to invading organisms. Scheduled physical activities (e.g., sports or dance classes) throughout the week, regular homework and bedtimes, plus family dinner and fun time may help your kids keep a lid on stress.