Staying Healthy at School

The leaves have begun to turn.
Your mug of strong coffee is delightfully hot.
Sweaters have come down from off the closet shelves.
Your mailbox is a smorgasbord of red and white and green coupons and cards.
There is talk of parties and ugly sweaters and wish lists and someone, somewhere is bedazzling something and you’re okay with it because: It’s the holidays.
And then:
There is a sniffle.
And a cough.
And, oh boy: a sneeze.
And then an internal dialogue of whether you should have bought the tissues with the lotion in it. (Spoiler alert: Yes, you should have.)
Sound familiar?
When seasons go from summer to fall to winter, our health can also take a temporary turn for the worse. How can you keep your kiddos healthy at school (and at home)?

Here are five ideas/tips/reminders to keep your child’s immunity anad attendance record in tip-top shape:

1. Teach children to wash hands frequently (and effectively).

It’s a no-brainer, right? Wash your hands with soap after you use the bathroom. Before you eat. When you sneeze or cough (not into your hands–more on that later).
Here’s the Mayo Clinic’s run-down of good hand-washing technique (but we understand that getting your children to consistently wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water might be as easy as loading an elephant into a wheelbarrow). But it’s worth a shot.
It’s generally best to wash your hands with soap and water. Follow these simple steps:

  • Wet your hands with running water — either warm or cold.
  • Apply liquid, bar or powder soap.
  • Lather well.
  • Rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Remember to scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
  • Rinse well.
  • Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel or air dryer.
  • If possible, use a towel or your elbow to turn off the faucet.
2. Have a good habit of not touching your face, nose and mouth with dirty hands.
Germs are the ultimate hitchhiker, and will go from anywhere to anything. So if your hands are dirty and you have something stuck in your teeth, wash your hands first. And then grab some floss.
3. Learn how to sneeze and cough properly.
Pro-tip: Sneeze and/or cough into a clean tissue or into your bent elbow–not your hands.
High fives! Handshakes. “Can I borrow your pencil?” Red Rover. Jump rope handles. Think about how many times we touch or clasp hands with others, as adults.
This sneezing and coughing-into-the-elbow idea may take some time and training, but it will be worth it!
4. Eat well.
Eat healthily, and eat enough. This can be tough during the holidays. We adults know. But make sure your child is getting enough fruits and vegetables to keep his or her immune system running well. Food is fuel! We can expect better results if we use better fuel. Setting a good example will help, too!
5. Good sleep habits.
Sleep is essential to health. When we are well-rested, our bodies are able to function as they need to. Sometimes, children will resist bedtime, or not sleep well. Do your best to ensure they’re getting enough sleep by sticking to a routine, keeping bedtimes consistent (even through the weekends), turning off screens at least 1 hour before bed, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and evening (this can be in chocolate, soda, iced tea, etc.) and making sure your child’s bedroom is conducive to rest (dark enough, cool enough, no distractions).

Let’s say your child DOES come down with a cold or the flu. What now?

  • Stay home from school and sleep/rest
  • Drink lots of fluids (water, soup, herbal tea)
  • Wash hands regularly (sound familiar?) to stop the spread of infection
Special thanks to our school nurse for helping us create this list!

Looking for a school that worries about physical health as well as spiritual health? Schedule an appointment, give us a call or send us an e-mail!

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