Where has the time gone?! I think all moms around the country are collectively asking this same question. It feels like only yesterday that the family was soaking in the sun and enjoying much needed relaxation.
With summer now behind us, children everywhere are starting school. There’s nothing more exciting than watching your kid learn and grow. And who could forget the endless supply of hand-drawn pictures and “guess what I did today” stories?
It goes without saying that this back-to-school season is a bit different from most. Now more than ever, the focus is on germs. As moms, we know that germs and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly. Each year, millions of school-aged kids miss school due to the common cold, flu, and other infections.
While we can’t protect our kids from everything, there are many things we can do as parents to prevent germs from spreading like wildfire.
Promote hand washing
We all know that the best way to prevent germs from spreading is by washing our hands. Now is the time to get to the sink and practice good hand washing techniques. My recipe for success? Warm soapy water and the alphabet song. For young kids, the song should last 20-30 seconds, which is the perfect amount of time for washing germs away. Have fun with it and make it an enjoyable activity.
Make DIY, kid-friendly sanitizer
Regular hand washing is a good first step. Encouraging your child to use hand sanitizer is another great way to keep germs at bay. What’s even cooler is that with just a few ingredients, you can make family-friendly sanitizer at home!
All you need is:
· Aloe vera gel
· Melted coconut oil
· Witch hazel
· Essential oils (ie. lavender and geranium)
Alcohol-free hand sanitizer not only smells better, but it’s also less harsh on the skin. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers increase the risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and may contain harmful compounds.
Elbow coughs and sneezes
We all fall into the habit of coughing or sneezing into our hands. This is probably one of the most common ways that germs get from kid to toys to doorknobs to shared crayons. Kids touch everything, which makes it even more important to stress coughing and sneezing into the crook of the elbow. Just tell your kid to “dab” and they’ll get it immediately.
Pack nutritious food
A balanced and nutritious diet is one of the best ways to support your child’s immune system. Since most kids can be picky eaters, convincing them that fruit and vegetables actually taste good can feel like an uphill battle.
Thankfully there are some fun, healthy snacks that your kid is sure to love. Consider these tasty options:
· Homemade trail mix
· Yogurt with granola
· Ants on a log
· Veggies with yogurt ranch dip (or hummus)
· Dried fruit
With healthy meals and snacks, you can fuel your kid’s immune system. This minimizes the risk of germs turning into a full-blown illness.
Take immune boosting supplements
Getting your kid to take vitamins is just as big of an uphill battle. Thankfully there are geniuses out there who recognize this all-too-common mom struggle. Today the store shelves are lined with endless gummy supplements. These supplements taste good and are fun to eat. Most kids don’t know the difference between healthy gummies and fruit snacks.
Some of the best immune boosting supplements include kid’s multivitamins, zinc, and Echinacea.
When choosing a gummy supplement, be mindful of the sugar content and how the ingredients are sourced. Lower sugar, organic supplements are best.
Encourage a good sleep routine
Proper sleep is a must, especially when it comes to warding off germs. Ensure that your child gets at least 9 hours of sleep each night. The younger they are, the more hours of sleep they need. If your kid dreads going to sleep, chances are they just aren’t tired. Give your child plenty of time to run around and burn off excess energy. Otherwise, it can be hard to get them to settle down in the evening hours.
Sick kid? Keep them home
This is a hard one, for any mom - whether you use school days as time for some well-deserved self-care, catching up on things around the house and errands, or you might not have the time to take off from work.
While we’re all guilty of playing hooky, if your child is coughing, sneezing, or running a fever, keep them home! There’s nothing worse than sending a sick kid to school and risking getting everyone else sick as well.
With these tips and tricks, you can best deal with back-to-school germs. Here’s to a healthy and happy school year for the entire family!