It’s flu season which means there’s some pretty yucky stuff going on right now and these tips to avoid bringing home germs from school and flu prevention are more critical than ever. One thing is for certain when children attend school – germs and illness seems to cling on fast and often! Preventing colds and illnesses at school & keeping your kids healthy is extra important right now, but first, you have to teach your kids these tips for flu prevention and germs places at school to avoid this flu season. Here are eight great tips to keep kids from getting sick at school and stay healthy so your entire family remains sniffle-free this school season.
Flu Prevention: 8 Ways to Help Kids Stay Healthy & Avoid Getting the Flu This Year
Sleep is incredibly important to keeping the immune system operating at optimal levels. A solid sleep routine will help kids not only stay on the side of healthy, but perform better in school and come home in a better mood than they would otherwise. A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that sleep deprivation – even in mild form – can have a big impact and reduce the body’s immunity.
Children and teens needs between 9 to 11 hours of solid sleep. Consistent sleep is important to bolstering the immune system, especially in cold and flu season.
When kids are starting to feel under the weather, make sure you build in extra time to rest and stick to a bedtime routine that gets them dozing off with a good amount of zzz’s to keep immunity levels high. Consider cutting back on nightly activities so they have enough time to wind down before bedtime.
Foods high in fat, sugar and white carbohydrates can suppress the immune system, making kids (and adults) more susceptible to illness. Make sure your kids get enough of the good foods to not only support healthy development but immune wellness.
- RX Bars are super healthy and packed full of quality, real food & protein
- That’s It Bars are only made with 2-3 fruits – no unnatural ingredients or added sugar
Be sure to include a balanced diet including vegetables at most meals, and foods high in Vitamin C and D can give the immune system a shot of ultra goodness when you see something coming on (sniffles, lack of appetite, a spike in whining or upset behavior and catching extra sleep)
Equally important is to keep hydrated! Pack water bottles for school and remind them to chug water after school, before/after activities, at dinner and before bedtime.
- These Contigo Water Bottles are great (and no straw to hold germs & icky food particles)
- Stainless Steel Water Bottles keep water chilly even on hot days
Eliminate sugary drinks such as juices and sports drinks for water so they’re staying hydrated and not compromising their immune system with added sugar.
Related: 2 Surprisingly Simple Tricks to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables Without Begging
3. Proper Hand Washing
Most kids don’t wash their hands as often as they really should be. Encourage them to wash their hands when they come inside, after running errands, before eating, after using the bathroom and when they’re around others – especially those who are sneezing, coughing or full-blown sick.
Hand-washing is the best line of defense against germs and if this means stocking your bathroom with a variety of fragrant smelling hand soaps because your child like them, then do it!
Warm water should always be used with hand-washing and to aim for 20 seconds of soaping and scrubbing. Ask them to sing the alphabets twice or their favorite jingle a couple of times.
4. Sanitize Hands at School
While alcohol based hand sanitizers are dangerous and banned by the FDA in 2016, you can still find great hand sanitizers which are non-alcohol based and small enough to pack in a backpack. Encourage your child to spray or wipe their hands before and after lunch, after recess, after handling items in their classroom, between classes, and after using the bathroom.
These are great to keep in the front pouch of a backpack for easy and quick access.
- Honest Company Mini Hand Sanitizers Spray (we love these and they smell great!)
- Babyganics Alcohol-Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer On-The-Go Pumps
- Babyganics Hand Sanitizer Wipes (alcohol-free)
- Burrell Hand Sanitizer Wipes
Tip: If your child has a sanitizer wipe out at their desk, a quick wipe down of the desk, especially if there are sick kids in class or the school is starting to report illness could do some good. A desk wipe down – if the teacher isn’t already doing this – should be done daily.
5. Avoid the Germy Places at School
Another thing to avoid at school are the germs spots – the places where germs are just waiting to pounce! Beware of these hotspots for germs and if kids come in contact with them, wash those hands and use sanitizer.
- Water Fountain Spigot (this is the #1 germiest place in school!)
- Bathroom Doors
- Bathroom Faucets
- Cafeteria Trays
- Art Supplies (cups, paintbrushes, supplies)
- Toilet Seat
- School Desks (unavoidable but a desk wipe down will help!)
Related: 15 Habits to Set Your Kids Up For a Healthy Life
6. No Sharing Food & Lunch Gear
We teach our kids to share and be generous but this is one of those times which not sharing is a good thing. Tell your kids to not share food, bites, utensils, cups, straws and other items where germs are easily transmitted by mouth and saliva.
In this case, saying No is permitted and encouraged!
Tip: Pack an individually wrapped hand sanitizer wipe in their lunchbox for a quick clean too!
7. Wash School Gear: Lunchboxes & Backpacks
Germs and illnesses can also be brought home on school supplies so be sure to wash down lunch boxes, backpacks and anythings else sent to school regularly.
Most lunch boxes can be rinsed and scrubbed with a little soap and hot water and set out to dry. Backpacks can be run through the washing machine on a gentle cycle once a month to keep it looking clean and the germs away.
Tip: Wash sheets and towels every week too!
8. Minimize Stress – Kids Need More Outside Play Time & Fresh Air
School can bring out a lot of stress and anxiety within children. After school, although homework needs to get done at some point, should be a stress-free zone where they can play and get outside and move their bodies after-hours of sitting behind a desk.
Create a routine after school which allows for unstructured play and relaxation, preferably in the sunshine outside. For example, if school gets out at 3pm, let them play outside until 4:30 and then sit down to do homework from 4:30 – 5 or 5:30pm while you cook dinner and are present to supervise and help.
The fresh air, sunshine and a little dirt will all do incredible things to boost immune wellness! When kids are stressed, this immediately begins to tear away at immune systems. The less pressure they feel to perform at school and then at home can greatly boost a child’s health and emotional wellbeing.
8 Tips to Keep Kids From Getting Sick at School:
- Make sure kids are getting enough sleep at night to promote immune wellness
- Cut fats and sugars and eat a balanced diet high in Vitamin C & D
- Make washing hands a part of everyday life
- Sanitize hands at school at several points throughout the day
- Avoid germy spots at school
- Don’t share food, utensils, and gear at school
- Wash lunch boxes and backpacks in hot water once in a while to kill germs
- Create a stress-free environment at home packed with play, fresh air and sunshine
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