Schools nurture our children both intellectually and emotionally, groom them with etiquettes and give them the confidence they’ll need to steer their lives in the right direction. School is also the place where our children are exposed to germs and bacteria making parents concerned about their well-being.
These germs and bacteria can cause infections and children with weak immunity fall ill. This concern is, even more overwhelming in the case of first-time or newly adoptive parents who may not have prior experience of tackling flu bouts or tummy bugs.
The important thing to remember is that while you can’t protect your children from all germs, you can save them from developing infections by inculcating good hygiene habits in them. This is important because a weak body and an exhausted mind will directly affect your children’s performance at school.
Moreover, there is always the inherent risk that the disease might spread to other family members as well. To ensure that your little ones stay protected at school, here we have outlined the best ways through which you can keep your kids healthy and active at school.
1. Vaccinate your child
Vaccinations go a long way in securing your children against serious ailments such as diphtheria and tetanus so try to stay on top of recommended vaccinations. Getting your child vaccinated regularly will prevent him/her from falling prey to serious diseases in the long run.
2.Inculcate germ etiquettes:
Germs spread at school through physical contact with other children and via contaminated surfaces so try to teach your children these basic hygiene habits to protect them against ailments:
a. Keep hands clean
Infections enter our bodies via our eyes, nose and mouth thus, regular hand washing significantly reduces the propensity of catching gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases. Therefore, it is important that you teach your little ones to wash their hands for almost 20 seconds using running water and soap.
You can also give them a hand sanitizer to keep in their backpacks or lockers so that they can use it to clean their hands. Here are the critical occasions at which you must teach your child to wash their hands to avoid contamination:
- Before meals.
- After using the toilet.
- After touching a dirty object.
- After playing outside.
- After sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose.
- After petting animals.
b. Stop diseases from spreading:
It is crucial that you instill a habit in your children of covering their mouths and noses with a tissue while sneezing or coughing as it prevents germs from becoming airborne. Also, encourage them to throw away used tissues immediately and wash their hands afterwards with water and soap. In case a tissue isn’t available, have them cough or sneeze into the crook of their elbows rather than their hands as it reduces the spread of bacteria.
c. Stop them from touching their face:
As mentioned above, most viruses enter our bodies through our face and therefore it is imperative that you teach your children to avoid touching their mouth, nose and eyes.
3. Develop good sleeping habits:
Sleep is our body’s natural way to recoup after a long day, and so it is important that you develop good sleeping habits in your children. This will help in keeping their immune system strong and infections at bay. Moreover, sleep deprivation has been found to double the risk of catching flu or cold.
4. Include physical activity to their routines:
Researches indicate that consistent and moderate physical activity or exercise can reduce the number of flu and cold episodes children have in a year by nearly 20-25%. This healing effect of exercise can increase the circulation of disease-fighting cells within the body. Moreover, exercise also leads to emotional stability, mental strength and stamina to name a few benefits.
5. Give them a well-balanced and healthy diet:
Acquiring infections is as much about internal resistance as it is about external factors so try to ensure that your children consume a balanced and healthy diet all day long. This will not only prevent diseases but will also promote their growth.
In addition to this, eating healthy meals also increases concentration during lessons thus improving your children’s productivity at school. Following are the steps that you can take to offer your children a well-balanced diet:
a. Prepare a brain-boosting breakfast:
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and there are several food items that you can use to boost your child’s mental agility and keep their energy levels up all day. These foods include eggs, chicken, fish, fruit smoothies, steamed veggies and even spaghetti and meatballs that offer healthy amounts complex carbohydrates and low-fat proteins. You can also give them herbal supplements like fish oil which are excellent for brain and eye development.
b. Prepare healthy and enjoyable lunches:
By preparing lunches for your children, you will be effectively securing them against unhealthy and unhygienic foods. Thus, try to conjure up fun combos that your children are likely to consume. Before you begin to make their lunchboxes, ensure that your hands and kitchen surfaces are clean and disinfected. Also, keep the following considerations in mind:
- Packed foods are far from their expiration dates.
- Lunchboxes that are rigid and airtight.
- Fruits that have been thoroughly washed.
You can also ask your children to help you pack their lunches as it will increase their chances of finishing them.
c. Serve healthy after-school snacks:
Kids are ravenous after school so help them regain their zeal by serving them healthy snacks such as pita bread with hummus, celery with nut butter, bagels and cream cheese and vegetables and dip, among others.
d. Monitor school lunches:
If your children eat lunch from the school cafeteria, it is vital that you keep monitoring the menus being prepared alongside any other eatables that your children consume throughout the day.
6. Ensure they drink plenty of water:
Water is healthy as opposed to sugary, carbonated and caffeinated beverages. Encourage your children to drink plenty of water. This is important because even mild dehydration can cause lethargy, headaches, poor concentration and irritability.
In addition to developing these healthy hygiene habits in children, you can also secure them against ailments by regularly cleaning their school accessories including uniforms, school bags and gym clothes. Even though these habits will take time and effort to develop; they will prove to be beneficial preventing your children from catching infections and paving the way for an overall hygienic lifestyle.