Every parent wants to keep their kid as healthy as possible, especially in the winter months when cold and flu season is at its peak. Unfortunately, keeping your kid healthy and your child's early education are two forces directly at odds with one another.
Preschools are breeding grounds for germs. And most toddlers don't have enough personal hygiene to keep them in check. Kid has cold, kid picks nose, kid puts hand in box of blocks, 15 children go home with the beginnings of a headcold. It's that simple.
Mazzy had a cold about a month ago and has had a lingering cough ever since. I asked her pediatrician about it and she said, "I bet every child in preschool has that same cough and will have it until the year is over". (Sidenote: You know who else caught that cough? ME.)
In fact, I remember a day when Mazzy seemed particularly snot-nosed and I debated sending her to school, as a courtesy to the other parents. I sheepishly brought her anyway (I'm paying a lot for that school!) and well, I needn't have worried.
As soon as we entered the classroom, one kid sneezed a sneeze that could have knocked down a tree, another had enough snot flowing out of her nose to blanket the entire city and yet another had such a hacking cough, it sounded like it was coming from the ghost of Walter Matthau, as opposed to a three-year-old boy.
The message was clear— parents want their kids out of the house and barring an 104 fever or a crippling bout of the runs, those children will be playing side-by-side with your child.
What can you do to make sure your preschooler doesn't get sick?
Well, okay, there are some things...
Kids that are well-rested are less likely to get sick than sleep-deprived kids. Yet another reason to get your bedtime routine under control.
Handwashing. Frequently. With soap for at least twenty seconds (have them sing "happy birthday"). Thankfully, Mazzy's school makes everyone wash their hands before they are allowed to enter the classroom. And we make her wash her hands as soon as she walks in the door at our house too.
Also, germs spread quickly from your hands to your nose, mouth and eyes so it's important to teach your kids to keep their hands away from their face. Which means, your little nose picker needs to rethink his very special habit.
Also on the chopping block? Fingernail biting. I don't know when that one started but Mazzy is gnawing on her fingers 24 hours a day. It's proving to be a hard habit to break but maybe if she knows it's adding to her chances of getting sick, that will be more incentive to stop than preserving her nail beds for future manicures.
Mazzy could also work on blowing her nose in a tissue and not throwing it directly onto the floor. Germs should be contained in a bin, not let loose on your carpet. I found this trick on Pinterest which I thought was pretty genius...
Attach a full box of tissues to an empty box with a couple of rubber bands. Instant tissue trash!
Coughing, by the way, is Mazzy's new favorite thing because she thinks she can use it to acquire a lollipop, due to that one time I gave her a sucker to soothe a sore throat. Two days later when she was perfectly healthy, she ran up to me and announced...
"I need a lollipop."
"You don't NEED a lollipop."
"I do. I'm sick."
"You're not sick."
"I am. COUGH COUGH. See???"
My daughter might be a liar but at least she covered her mouth. Yay for good fake hygiene habits!
If your kid does get sick, one of the most important things you can do is keep them hydrated. One way to do this is with PediaCare Cold & Flu Hydration, a new product for kids that works to safely replenish fluid and electrolytes, as well as boost their immune system with a healthy dose of antioxidants. It comes in grape-flavored pre-measured packets that you can easily add to 8oz. of water, and contains way less sugar than your typical sports drink or juice.
So although, it might not be a lollipop, it won't taste like medicine either.
PediaCare is currently having a "Comeback Kid Video Contest" on their facebook fanpage running until January 9th. Just upload a short video of your child at their happiest and healthiest and you could win an $100 AMEX gift card as well as a chance to be featured in their next advertising campaign.
Is that incentive enough for your kid to keep their finger out of their nose?
Disclosure: I am honored to be a 2012 paid brand ambassador for PediaCare. All opinions expressed are my own. For more information about PediaCare products, please visit their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/PediaCare