Shorter days, longer nights, and chilly morning sprints to the car. As parents of school-aged children, winter brings with it its own set of challenges…including the inevitable cold and flu season. Here are 5 tips to help keep your kids (and yourself) healthy this winter.
- Wash Those Hands
Did you know it is scientifically proven that over 80 percent of cold and flu viruses are spread from just our hands? Studies have shown a significant decrease in absenteeism when students use proper hand-washing techniques which include scrubbing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. That is about the time it takes to sing The Happy Birthday Song twice! So the next time your little ones protests a hand-washing session, try singing together to make it a little more fun!
2. Keep A Clean Toothbrush
Dentist’s suggest changing your toothbrush every 3-4 months to ensure effectiveness and minimize bacteria accumulation, but did you know that you should also swap out your toothbrush every time you or a family member has been sick? This reduces the spread of illness in your home and also helps prevent you from reintroducing bacteria into your body. Good oral hygiene = a happy, healthy body!
3. Get Outside
Don’t let the chilly weather keep you stuck inside. There is no better way to keep those cold and flu viruses at bay than fresh air and natural vitamin D! Even just 10-15 minutes a day of outdoor time can make a huge difference. Bundle up those babies and get some mood-boosting sunshine with a quick stroll around the block, or a game of tag to get some energy out. Your kids might even sleep better, too, since outside time can help to regulate their internal sleep clock. Win-win!
4. Get Plenty of Zzz’s
Speaking of sleep…less is definitely not more! A rested body results in a thriving immune system that can more effectively fight sickness that might try to creep in. Make sure your family is getting adequate sleep by setting a bedtime and sticking to it. SleepFoundation.org makes the following recommendations for sleep:
- Preschoolers (under age 6): 10-13 hrs/night
- Young children and pre-teens (ages 6-13): 9-11 hrs/night
- Teens (age 13+): 7-11 hrs/night
5. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
A stressed out body means a stressed out immune system that can’t function properly. Cutting out stress (even in small ways) can make a huge difference in your families overall health. When you have school-aged kids, one great way to eliminate stress in your home is to try to pre-plan as much as possible. Thankfully, with Wholesome Food Services, school lunch prep can be as simple as a few clicks the day before or even 60 days ahead of time. Spend that gained precious time in ways that bring you and your family a little more peace and calm.