Maintain A Sick-Free Zone

We’re still in the middle of a winter – a very cold one for many families in parts of the country – and winter often means viruses and infections that spread around daycare and school like wildfire. Looking for tips to keep your kids healthy this winter? Keep reading!

Girl washing her hands

1Srub-a-dub-dub

One of the most basic ways to keep your kids healthy is to get them into the habit of regular hand washing. While most kids are notoriously slow at some tasks, they seem to whiz through hand washing. However, similar to the way kids' approach getting dressed in the morning -- could they take any longer?! -- they should also approach hand washing. The popular suggestion is that your kids should scrub their hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthdaytwo times.

2Get your vitamins -- the natural way

While the efficacy of vitamin pills has been in question recently, do your best to ensure your kids are eating healthy. A healthy and balanced diet means your kids are getting more vitamins through their food. While there's no guarantee that your kids won't get sick simply because they eat well, it can't hurt to stack your deck.

3Stop sharing

As parents, we usually encourage our kids to share, but remind them not to apply the sharing rule when it comes to drinks. Most kids aren't fazed by taking a swig from their friend's slobbery juice box straw or thermos full of milk. While sharing is usually caring, sharing germs isn't. Explain to your little ones that when it comes to drinks, they should only sip their own and explain why -- because you want to keep your kids healthy!

4

Avoid germ central

During the height of cold and flu season, you're probably between a rock and a hard place if you have school-aged children. However, if your kids are younger and not in a group care setting, you can minimize exposure to illnesses by avoiding the popular germ magnets. Neighborhood playgrounds and the play area at the mall, for example, are great places to pick up viruses.

Note that research does show that kids who contract more viruses at younger ages tend to have better immune systems when they're older. If you're willing to power through the colds and other viruses, or if you just need to get out of the house -- most stay-at-home moms can relate to this! -- sometimes it cannot be avoided. But if you're trying to cut down on exposure, consider skipping the breeding grounds.

5

Night night!

At a certain age, many kids have mastered the bedtime stall. However, some of those kids wake up at the same time every morning -- whether they go to bed at 7:00 p.m. or midnight. Get your kids into a regular bedtime routine so that they are sleeping as much as their little bodies need to stay healthy. Sleep is essential for a healthy immune system, so make sure your kids aren't missing out on much-needed zzzz's.

Even the most conscious and cautious moms will deal with colds and viruses in their families. Unfortunately, at least a few colds and viruses are a part of childhood. However, you can minimize them and keep your kids healthy -- or healthier -- this winter by taking a few extra measures.

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