As the temperatures cool, those pretty amber-and-gold leaves aren’t the only things whirling in the air. All of that sneezing and coughing is sending all kinds of germs airborne as well. And if you’ve got kids in school or daycare, you know how quickly the bug du jour spreads—and how long it can take for everyone in the family to feel good again!
It’s tempting to put our kids in a bubble during this time of year, but how will they ever learn how to use protractors, how to play nice on the playground and the history of ancient Mayan culture if they never leave the house?
Here are three tips for keeping kids healthy during cold and flu season.
1. Keep your hands clean.
There’s only one phrase I say more often than, “Stop bothering your sister!” in my house, and that’s, “Don’t forget to wash your hands!” I have been getting a lot more enthusiastic lathering up lately, though, since I began buying “fun” hand washes, like Deep Steep Organic’s Foaming Handwash (in grapefruit bergamot, which smells so good!). One pump releases a giant dollop of whipped foam. When hand-washing isn’t possible, Babyganics The Germinator is a great thing to have on the go. Stick it in your kids’ backpacks, donate it to the classroom…it’s alcohol-free and safe for babies and pets!
2. Fortify those immune systems.
Toughen up your little ones’ resistance by being a stickler for healthy living rules: insist on a good night’s sleep, plenty of fresh air and exercise outdoors, and try to get them to eat a balanced diet full of fresh produce, lean protein, yogurt and other calcium-rich snacks and…what’s that? You’re laughing at me incredulously? Yeah, I know, easier said than done. A good “insurance policy” is to offer a really high-quality multivitamin like Childlife Multi Vitamin and Mineral (in a yummy liquid orange mango they’ll lap off the spoon). Or if they’re gaga for gummy bears, they’ll love Vitacost Multi-Vitamin Gummies for Kids.
3. Call for back-up.
This might be a good time to stock up on vitamin C and other natural remedies designed to give an extra boost to natural immune responses, like Childlife First Defense Immune Formula and Emergen-C Kidz. Strengthen stomachs with a kids’ probiotic, which supports a healthy bowel function and gastrointestinal comfort (a good thing to have in your back pocket on those days when everyone’s being sent home with the 24-hour bug!).
Follow these steps and you’ll have a good fighting chance against the ickies this year! And moms, remember that you need to stay well to keep the whole family strong. Eat your veggies, sleep through the night whenever there are no monsters in your kids’ closets, get in regular exercise, and don’t forget your multivitamin and immune boosters, either!
Jorie Mark is Vitacost.com’s Director of Marketing Communications and mom to three kids, ages 2 to 10.