Winter does not have to be the season of endless sniffles and coughs in your household. You can take measures to make sure your family stays in good health this winter season and enjoys the holidays. Here are five tips that can help you keep your kids healthy this winter.
Give Them a Well-Balanced Diet
The foundation for good health is a properly balanced diet that is nutritious and not full of empty calories. Eating a good diet is important not just for certain seasons, but for life, as you will see when you realize that one out of 14 children in a nationally representative sample had pre-diabetes, while in overweight adolescents it was one in six. These numbers are sobering enough to make any well-meaning parent think carefully about the meals they provide for their children. Work on a good meal plan for winter and beyond to ensure your children stay healthy throughout the year.
Help Them Stay Active
Whether it’s by engaging them in active games around the house or taking them out to play, there are a number of ways in which you can get your children to stay active. This is a proven method to keep them free of cold and flu episodes, so find a way to get them moving. At school, encourage them to sign up for a sport that interests them, and if you can spare the time, do a fun, rigorous activity with them when they get back home, too.
Remind Them to Wash Their Hands Frequently
Many germs are spread by cross-infection, which occurs when an uninfected person touches a surface that has germs on it from another source. To minimize the risk of your child picking something up, remind them of the importance of washing their hands frequently. Even dental-related illnesses can be exacerbated by poor handwashing habits, which the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools warns leads to the loss of 51 million school hours. Make sure that your child does not bring something home from school that will infect you all by simply helping them remember to wash their hands often.
Get Them to Bed Early
Getting enough sleep is good for both mental and physical health. To make sure that your child’s body is in a strong enough state to fight off opportunistic diseases like colds and flu, come up with a routine that sees them sleep early. They will likely wake up fresh and in good health, eager to face the day and conquer any challenge thrown their way. Depending on their age, they will need to get between nine and 14 hours of sleep to ensure that their immunity is naturally strong.
Remind Them to Socially Distance
If your child is in a private school where small class sizes with student-to-teacher ratios of 12:1 are common, they will likely have an easy time social distancing. If not, you can help them find a way to avoid being in crowded spaces with minimal ventilation, like the hallways during recess. Tell them to try their best to spend as little time in the crowd if there’s no way to escape it, and they may not catch the seasonal cold and flu synonymous in winter.
Follow the five tips above to ensure everyone in your home stays healthy and bright. You may end up sticking with these tips even after the cold season has passed because they are applicable to many situations. There’s also almost always one thing or another going around that children are at risk of catching, so take care!