You probably already know that keeping your children safe and healthy during the holiday season is much easier said than done. The stress of family gatherings, holiday shopping, sweet treats, and busy schedules can all wreak havoc on your child’s health - and on your sanity!
There just isn't enough Mom to go around when everyone starts to get sick, so it's to your benefit that you prevent whatever ailments you came. You might not be able to avoid every common illness this winter, but I've got a few tips to help you try!
Schedule Their Checkups Early
Long before the flu season starts, you should do your best to schedule checkups for all of your children with their pediatric doctor. This will help you avoid long appointment times before the flu season crowd clogs up your doctor's schedule. Depending on their age, their doctor might suggest having one or more shots before the flu spreads through your town. Whether or not you choose to give your kid the flu vaccine is entirely up to you! In addition to speaking with their pediatric doctor, it is a good idea to make an appointment with a dental professional. The holiday season can have a major impact on a child’s oral health as they come in contact with tons of sweets and sugary treats! It is important to keep their teeth as clean as possible to prevent long-term issues such as tooth decay and severe discoloration. You don't want your kid to start 2018 with a mouth full of cavities, right?
Fill Up Their Plates With Healthy Foods
Ok, I know. Holiday food is not exactly the healthiest, and no one wants to eat clean for Christmas dinner. But when it comes to keeping a child healthy, very few things are as important as their diet. So even though it's ok to serve a few "bad foods" make sure that most of your kids' plates are filled with healthy choices. It is also super important that your children stay hydrated and keep sugary drinks to a minimum! The occasional treat is generally not a problem, but your children’s meals should be filled with fresh produce, whole grains, and lean protein. Studies have shown us that nutritional deficiencies can weaken a child's immune system and make them extremely susceptible to the flu. Citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, garlic, and ginger are all natural foods that can help your children fight off any germs that they come into contact with outside your home. If your kid just isn't into eating fruits and veggies, you still get them the nutrients they need by offering with alternatives such as fruit smoothies.
Enforce Good Hygiene Habits
Obviously, your child won’t be able to avoid every microbe that comes their way, that would make this parenting thing too easy! But you can reduce their risk of a serious illness by simply teaching them a few basic hygiene habits. Make sure during the holiday season (and every season), they wash their hands with warm water and soap multiple times a day, and each wash should last for at least 30 seconds. This will greatly reduce the number of germs they carry around and spread to others! Teach them to clean up after themselves when they spill. Explain to them why they need to cover their mouths when they cough. Show them how to use a tissue to blow their nose - not just their hands lol. These little healthy habits will go a long way, trust me.
And if your kid does become sick, remember to stop the spread. You need to change their toothbrush and wash all of their bed linens as often as possible. Because germs can stay alive for weeks outside of the human body, it doesn’t take much for someone who has a weakened immune system to become infected again. You don't want to keep the virus alive, especially if you have more than one kid to worry about!
Hopefully, these tips will help you keep the germs away this holiday season!
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