The holiday season is here, which means kids are home from school and enjoying this fun, exciting time of year. However, that also means in just a few weeks, they'll have to go back to school, which almost inevitably means they'll catch yet another cold from one of their classmates.
Kids get sick all the time, as just about any parent knows, but it can be surprising just how often they get sick. In fact, the average child catches between six and ten colds every year. If you want to reduce the amount of time your kids spend sick at home once they go back to school, use these tips to keep them happy and healthy for the remainder of the winter.
- Make sure they get sleep: If your child is showing signs of coming down with a cold or other illness, make sure they’re getting enough sleep. School stress and pressure to succeed can cause kids to stay up for longer than they should to begin with, and this only is made worse when illness is involved. Young children should be getting as much as 10 to 13 hours of sleep per night, with teenagers needing between 8.5 and 9.5 hours.
- Practice good hygiene: This next tip is crucial for both you and your child. Washing your hands properly and frequently can prevent the spread of illnesses from you to your child, and vice versa. Additionally, if you wash your hands well, it models healthy behaviors for your child to replicate, which can help keep them healthy.
- Focus on nutrition: Picky eaters might be even fussier after the tons of tasty food and sweets from the holiday season, but keeping your child eating healthy meals is important. Again, modeling good behavior here can help keep your child healthy. Additionally, be sure to keep introducing new foods to your child’s diet, and avoid using sweets with empty, nutritionless calories as a reward.
- Schedule regular check-ups: Regular visits to the doctor might seem like a hassle, but it’s well worth it to keep your child healthy. Don’t forget to visit the dentist as well; the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools warns that 51 million school hours are lost each year due to a dental-related illness. Doctors and dentists will be able to spot symptoms of illness you might overlook.
As the new semester and year picks up again, make sure you're doing everything you can to keep your child as healthy as possible. Your child is sure to thank you, and these tips will keep them in school and learning as much as they can.
Written by Tim Werth for The Healthy Moms Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image provided by Paul Hanaoka