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
My boy started preschool in November. He’s already brought home a germ so potent, his grandfather who caught it last (first it was the baby, then me), is still coughing 2 weeks later. Fortunately, the school does check for temperatures and hand wash all the kids. Still, it’s a petri dish there, isn’t it?
We had to use PediaCare a few weeks ago because Quinn was sick and not drinking or eating ANYTHING, but that she took. I didn’t know it came in the packets though, that’s nifty.
As a veteran of twins that went through daycare and preschool… Mazzy will have an immune system of steel by the time she is in elementary school. It sucks now, but it will pay off. My kids are hardly ever sick.
Sorry Mazzy got sick and took you down with her. My youngest is in daycare at the same place my oldest is finishing up preschool and I can tell you that the germ fest usually lasts 6 months to maybe a year(depending on the time of year they start) and then they almost never get sick because they’ve built up their immune system.
The bright side is that being in the daycare for the 2nd year now, our son has not “need to be out of school” sick nearly as often as during his first year. Last month, our son was getting over croup and we wondered if we should let him stay home another day as a courtesy for other kids and parents. I said, “why should we when other parents don’t show the same courtesy to us!”. It’s a vicious cycle. Hope you feel better! Why is it that moms get the same sickness that our kids get, while husbands seem to be doing “fine”, if not dealing with their own (independent) ailments?
I’m fairly certain that all daycare providers and student teachers get the preschool plague as well – but since my years working in the head start program I have an immunity like no other.
We have a student in my daughter’s class that has Cystic Fibrosis, and his mom sent home a letter with our kids asking we don’t send our children to school when they’re sick. I did keep my daughter home once when she was really bad, but I know a lot of the parents don’t. The class would be half empty every day if parents kept their kids home for every sniffle and cough.
My kids were sick every two weeks at their day care. Every two weeks a fever, cough cold something that would keep them home. Which sucked out loud since it was an in home facility and we had to pay even if we weren’t there. I swore the lady was keeping them sick so she could collect money and do less work. We aren’t there anymore – the kids are a preschool now and are rarely sick. I guess we bumped up their immunity early!
It is virtually impossible to keep my family completely healthy in the winter. Way too many kids exposed to too many illnesses. I absolutely LOVE your graph at the top!
This graph made my day…Our twins missed so much of the first 3 months of daycare that I stopped keeping count of the money flushed when they were sick and it always staggered so you were doing double drop off/babysitter payments/owing the grandparents big time! This means that they’re going to have super immunity for kindergarten, right?
I promise you this is going to be the best advice you’ll ever receive, for you, your husband, and your daughters, even Harlow can participate in this.. My mom preached to me this health craze about vitamin C, not the kind in stores, the purest form of it. It is a little pricey but SO worth it and lasts a long time. You need 3000mg of it a day, 1/2 teaspoon is 1500, so that’s just 1/2 twice a day! Not only does it boost your immune system, but it prevents you from being sick if you take it once or twice a week on a routine. The day my son started daycare I have been giving it to him twice a week and he is NEVER sick. Hasn’t been sick once. He started daycare at 6 months, so yes this is so natural and pure that even a baby can have it, no matter the age. You just down the amount a little bit and your baby will be as healthy as a horse. My boyfriend, son, and I all take it and no one in our household is ever sick. I’ve attached the link to the website you can buy it from. Please ignore the price and realize that this does last for months and this is for the health of your children and you.
Here’s the link to buy it. Please don’t waste your money on the “vitamin C” they sell in stores. They add way too much stuff to it, and it’s not natural and pure enough to give to your children. I promise I’m not some crazy health freak. I honestly eat like crap but this is one thing that I will preach about, because it’s kept my whole family healthy and shields us from any flu or cold coming our way.
Why have I NEVER thought of that tissue contraption before?? SO DOING THAT!
Our entire house has been sick for over a month now. It’s kind of ridiculous. I’m definitely going to try that hydration kit!! My daughter gets so pale it’s scary.
Do you think it also works for hangovers? Just sayin.
We’re likely sending our son to preschool starting in the fall (he’ll be 4) and I’m dreading the accompanying illnesses. He’s almost never sick – he’s never had a fever that required a doctor’s visit, and even when he has a cold it seems to be completely gone within just a few days. In fact, since he’s been born, my husband and I have been sick more often than my son. Maybe I’ll get lucky and it won’t be that bad!
Seriously, Lysol needs to invent a bomb for the house, because once you have more than one kid, you just keep passing things back and forth until the mother starts giving everyone benedryl just so she can get a break.
Another thing is to keep hand sanitizer in your purse/car. As soon as the kids leave the Petrie Dish in question, pour it on. By the time they get home, they have sucked their thumbs, picked their noses/ears, and rubbed their eyes. Best to get those suckers early.
As long as your family is not suffering from a Man Cold, you’re all good. Wives have died from that shit.
That tissue contraption is genius. Also, I’m glad genetics or just some freak stroke of luck means that whatever ours brings home usually only brings down one of us at a time (my own daycare-hardened immune system means I’m winning this game right now).
I’m a city preschool teacher. The first year I was hacking and blowing my nose right along with the kids. Now (third year) I’ve got an immune system of steel (knock on wood!) and haven’t missed a day yet this year. SO, although it sucks now, the pay-off for you and Mazzy will come ! 🙂
I can’t decide if I like the graph or the tissue idea more. I have one in preschool and he pretty much keeps the whole house sick year round.
That graph is perfect! My twins were so sick for the first two years of pre-school, but this year has been much better. I’m rigid about getting them to sleep early and we’re also drinking something called Ultima (a powder you add to water that’s plant based) that we get at Whole Foods. It’s like Emergen-C, but without the sugar. I really think it’s helped us stay well this year! Hope Mazzy is all better soon!
One word: lice. Ugh.
hahaha jewish people like us do NOT want to waste $$$ 😉
Preschool activities help kids make learning fun all year long. Also,this is a great idea getting kids into gardening at an early age, so that they can enhance their skill.
I have to wonder how wise it is to have a box of dirty tissues right next to the clean box.. not because of germs, oh no, but because of ‘super sleep deprived’ human beings may not be able to differentiate between the boxes during the late night hour (lol)
I know this is an old post,but if you haven’t solved the whole nail biting thing yet,try coating her nails with clear polish.She won’t pick at it because she’ll forget its there without color,but the taste usually deters them.this also stops the whole fingers in the mouth thing to.