5 Ways to Help Your Child Stay Healthy This Year

Public schools can be a hot spot for germs. When your child sits down in math class, they have no idea who may have been sneezing on that desk just minutes earlier. It is inevitable that your child will be exposed to millions of bacteria this year. Here are some ways to support your child’s body to help them stay as healthy as possible this year!



1. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

This must be a no-brainer to you. Your child’s body needs support in order to function properly and fight off infection. Skip the sugary breakfast cereals and instead opt for a handful of fruit thrown into hot oatmeal or a milk and frozen fruit smoothie. Check if your children are eating the veggies that come in their school lunches. If not, supplement their diet with an extra veggie option at dinner time.



2. Play outside

Never underestimate the power of sunshine. Over 3 million Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. It’s very difficult to get a sufficient amount of Vitamin D from food alone, but luckily you can get your daily dose by spending 25 minutes in sunshine each day (sitting by windows doesn’t work!). Sure, you could take a supplement, but why spend money when the sun is giving away the stuff for free?

In addition to this, playing outside is a good way for your child to get exercise. With obesity levels rising, it is important to instill good habits and hobbies in your child so they can carry their health with them beyond their childhood.



3. Keep hands clean, but don’t abuse hand sanitizers

You should set up a hand washing routine for your child. Tell them a good rule of thumb is to wash their hands after each time they use the restroom as well as before and after each meal. Teach them to keep their fingers out of their mouths, nose, and eyes throughout the day. This will cut chances of ingesting some germ.

In public schools, hand sanitizer is nearly always available for students to access. While sanitizer works magnificently to kill germs, I recommend limiting your use of this product. Overuse of sanitiers can promote bacterial resistance and breed super bugs. Unless you have absolutely no other choice, opt for old fashioned soap and water. It is healthier in the long run.



4. Set a bedtime

Studies show that going to bed and waking up at around the same time each day is the optimal way to get the most restful sleep. When the body is rested, it is stronger and more effective at fighting off infections. When setting a bedtime, you will have to find the perfect balance for your family’s routine. On weekends, though it will be tempting, don’t allow your children to sleep beyond two hours of their weekday routine or else you risk resetting their sleep schedule!


Credit: Anna Gutermuth

5. Stay home

Imagine your child gets sick. They stay home from school for a few days and, even though they aren’t feeling 100% better, they say they’re ready to go back. Maybe they are scared of falling behind on homework or missing a test or a field trip. Unless it has been 24 hours since their fever broke, keep them home! When fighting infection, a body is left even more vulnerable. If your child returns to a germy environment before their body is strong again, it is very possible they can catch another virus, which might do even more damage.