Does it seem like when one of your kids gets sick, he takes the whole house down with him? On top of that, your entire family takes weeks to get well because they keep passing the germs back and forth to each other. Find out how to keep your children from getting sick with a few extra measures the second you hear the first sneeze, cough or other signs of illness. Start with these 8 healthy tips to keep your kids from getting sick and protect your family from nasty germs that don't seem to want to leave your house once they arrive:
1. Make Sure Everyone Washes Their Hands ... A Lot
It's no secret that washing your hands thoroughly is the best way to stop the germs that end up on your hands. When you're in a house of children, how do you make sure those tiny hands are properly getting cleaned?
Teach them how to wash their hands the right way. Try fun ways to teach kids how to wash their hands so you'll always know that when those hands are touch, touch, touching everything in your home that they're as clean as they can possibly be.
2. Wipe Down Everyday Surfaces Frequently
Take an antibacterial wipe to the surfaces your children touch. Wipe doorknobs, handrails, light switches, computer keyboards, mouses, telephones, remote controllers and game controllers to start. Think about the other items your child touches on a daily basis, like faucet handles, the refrigerator door handle and even the cookie jar.
Thoroughly clean these surfaces several times a day.
You don't want a sick child to come right after you and touch that refrigerator handle, followed by your well child an hour later. Keep your eye out for these situations where germs are just waiting for this opportunity. Be diligent and clean those surfaces well and often to reduce the spread of germs.
3. Limit Contact
Your kids love playing together. Face-to-face contact isn't a good idea when one of your children is sick, though. Encourage your kids to play alone to limit contact and isolate the germs.
Being in the same room with one of your sick children won't necessarily make your well child catch the germs. But having a sick child sitting with his face close to your well child's, such as having them play cars together, could.
While it may be really hard, resist the temptation to kiss your sick kids on the lips. Those sweet kisses are an easy way to spread germs to the rest of your family while they're sick. Stick with a kiss on the cheek until everyone is well.
4. Disinfect Toys
Toys are a germ factory for kids when they're sick. They're handled so often and one touch of a germ-infested toy for your well child who then puts his hand to his face will soon turn him into a sick child too.
Clean your kids' toys thoroughly to stop the spread of germs. Don't forget the stuffed animals too. Just because they're soft surfaces doesn't mean they're not germ carriers.
5. Change Up Your Kisses
Another healthy secret to keep your kids from getting sick involves those kisses we often give our kids to make them feel better.
While you love those sweet lips, the little ones aren't very kissable when they're sick. Change up your kisses and move your lips to the tops of their heads while they're sick.
It's hard for your kids to understand that they can't get a goodnight kiss on the cheek from their brothers and sisters but try to explain to them that you simply don't want them to get sick. Pretty soon, all of you will be well enough to cover each other's faces in kisses again.
6. Wash Bedding, Blankets and Towels Often
It's tempting to let the kids use their sick bed until they're well again. The family's favorite blanket on the couch may be a carrier of the same germs that are getting everyone sick too.
Zap the chances that you'll have germs living with you long term. Wash bedding, blankets and towels frequently to reduce the amount of germs just waiting for your kids to touch them.
Not only is it better for your family, a clean bed sure feels nice when you're sick.
7. Clean the Toilet
It's not a pleasant housekeeping task but cleaning the toilet is vital to keeping your family healthy. Even if your child hasn't vomited, he's still touched the toilet handle with his hand.
Your well child comes into the bathroom, touches the same handle and doesn't wash his hands as thoroughly as he should have. Boom. Two sick kids.
8. Separate Mealtimes
Family meals are important bonding time for you. But when you're dealing with a house divided -- some sick and some well -- keep the mealtimes separate to reduce your well children's risks of ending up at the sick table with their siblings.
Sharing the same utensils to dish out mashed potatoes or accidentally drinking out of the wrong glass can instantly expose your children to the germs you want to take down. Even touching the same surface on the table can keep the germs happily spreading from one child to another.
Many kids are contagious before they show any signs of being sick. Preventative measures aren't foolproof but they can keep your family from spreading the same germs back and forth from constant exposure.