The potential for fresh opportunities and newfound experiences is endless when the school year begins. Unfortunately, even with the best intentions, sickness is no exception to that list of possibilities for children. Parents must take the proper precautions to help young students maintain optimal health and well-being for a successful year.
Not all health concerns or illnesses are preventable, but don’t let these essential strategies fall by the wayside. Here are several preventative tips to keep your kids healthy this school year.
Boost Their Immune Systems
Out of all the preventative tips on this list, creating a healthy routine to optimize the immune system is at the top. To keep your kids healthy this school year, focus on boosting their immunity to ward off germs and infections.
Strive to provide a healthy diet of well-balanced meals and whole foods, get them physically active during the day, and ensure they get enough sleep at night. Discuss with their pediatrician if extra protection or certain health products may be beneficial to supplement vitamins and minerals. If you have more than one child, remember that each child needs a personalized approach, as individual immune systems vary.
Teach and Emphasize Proper Hand Hygiene
Nothing is more important for children’s health than good personal hygiene. As a healthy hygiene habit, regular—and correctly completed—handwashing is the best defense against germs and bacteria transmitted by touch. Hand hygiene is an important strategy to protect against herpetic whitlow and other common contagious illnesses sneakily spread through physical contact.
Handwashing should be done before eating and after coughing, sneezing, or using the bathroom. If your child has a frequent habit of putting fingers in their mouth or touching their face, remind them to wash their hands often with warm water and soap. Singing the alphabet or happy birthday song twice—around 20 seconds or so—will do the trick. When handwashing is not possible, hand sanitizer acts as a quick, alternative solution.
Keep an Eye Out for Stress and Anxiety Symptoms
For young students, mental health is just as important as physical health. Situations of separation or social anxiety—or worries about not fitting in or performing well—can wreak havoc on children. School pressure, friendship troubles, peer bullying, extracurricular activities or sports, and social media can induce heightened feelings of stress and anxiety.
While overcoming challenges and enduring difficult times helps build a sense of resiliency, these circumstances can reduce emotional or mental wellness. Pay close attention to your child to spot warning signs and keep age-appropriate communication lines open. Give them time to recharge, provide parental support, reach out to a school psychologist, or ask your pediatrician for advice. With these tips in mind, a hopefully happy, healthy, and fruitful school year awaits.