CHS Blog

Back to School: Keeping Your Child and Family Healthy

Back to School: Keeping Your Child and Family Healthy
Posted on September 30, 2016 by CHS

For kids, the start of the school year brings excitement and apprehension about new teachers, classes, and homework.  But for parents, the start of the school year also brings the fear of getting sick. Let’s face it – when kids get together in child care or school, germs spread. Then they spread to your family, and before you know it, everyone is feeling miserable and missing work, school, or an important event.

Children like to explore, touch, and share. They put shared toys in their mouths, cough and sneeze without covering up, and forget to wash their hands after using the bathroom. These germs then transfer to desks, water fountains, lunch trays, and food.

With an exciting world to learn and explore, children are innocently unaware of concerns like bacteria and germs. Start preparing now by teaching your child good habits to help prevent as much illness as possible this year for your child and family!

Illness Prevention Tips

Strengthen Their Immune System

  • Get Vaccinated: Talk to your child's doctor to find out which ones are recommended. Most child care centers and schools require that children be up-to-date with their immunizations.
  • Eat Healthy: Provide a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. Foods with Vitamin C (such as citrus fruit, dark leafy greens, kiwi, and bell peppers) will help reduce the length and severity of colds. 
  • Sleep: Be sure your child is getting enough rest – 10-11 hours, depending on their age, as sleep deprivation hinders the body’s ability to fight infection. 
  • Exercise Daily: More time inside and less time moving tremendously impacts kids’ physical health. By limiting TV-watching and video games, and increasing daily outdoor activities, their chance of staying well increases.  
  • Bundle Up: Your children can still play outside when it’s cold, just make sure they’re covered and warm with appropriate layers, including hats and gloves. 

Stop the Spread of Sickness

  • Wash Hands: Regular, proper handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent sickness. Teach children to wash their hands before eating or handing food, and after using the toilet, blowing their nose, or playing outdoors. Explain that correct hand-washing includes warm water, rubbing with soap vigorously for 10-15 seconds, and rinsing with warm water. Use hand sanitizer or hand sanitizing wipes if hand washing isn’t an option.
  • Use Water Bottles: If your child regularly uses the water fountain at school, consider packing a water bottle for them to carry instead. Water fountains are not always cleaned regularly and can be a breeding ground for germs. 
  • Know When Not to Share: While sharing is a highly-encouraged practice, food and drinks may be a wise exception. Teach your child to eat only their own food/drinks since many illnesses are spread through saliva and hands.
  • Keep Sick Children Home: If your child has a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, is vomiting, or has diarrhea, eye infection, rash, lice, nits, or any other unusual symptoms, it is important to keep them home from school. Keeping sick kids home will help limit the spread of illness in their child care center or school.

To download more resources about health and understanding illness, visit the Family Education Program page on our website, or click on the following links:

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