When your child first starts going to daycare, it can feel like you live at the doctor’s office. Most of us have done our best to make the home a sick-free zone, but that first exposure at daycare is like biological culture shock. Today, we know more about bacteria and germ growth works at schools. That’s thanks to the same tools that helped scientists discover diseases like Multiple Sclerosis. Widespread usage of tools like the microscope helped identify what makes us sick, but it also taught us where we catch colds and what we can do to defend our families.
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Here are a few basic tips for getting through those first few months and getting your child acclimated to school.
Health Starts at Home
The type of food you eat, the environment you keep, and how frequently you take care of the basics around the house all affect a child’s health. Let’s first look at food, since it’s the basis for a healthy body.
Fruits, veggies, and iron-rich foods are all crucial to your child’s health. Picky eaters might need supplemental vitamins. SmartyPants Vitamins, for instance, recommends taking a single dosage each day because it uses multiple vitamins to deliver a complete regiment of important nutrients.
Other measures at home can help your child learn how to approach toys and playground fixtures with a sanitary mindset. Instructing kids not to place their fingers in their mouths, noses, or eyes is a good approach for daycare prep. One way to encouragegood hygiene is to wash hands together before and after meals, after dishwashing, trash handling, and other chores. Good hygiene is the basis for staying healthy at preschool.
Observe School Policies
One of the ways well-meaning parents spread sickness is by bringing their child to school with a fever. Sometimes, we just don’t have a choice and we have to hope the fever will break. Those are the worst times to send a child to school, though, because the sickness spreads like wildfire.
Children put toys in their mouths, touch things adults would not consider touching, and do all of this in the two or seconds our backs are turned.
The best thing you can do for a child who is getting sick, or who already has a fever, is to keep him or her at home. When in doubt, ask your child’s teachers. Let them know the symptoms and ask them to call if anything goes wrong throughout the day.
Get Plenty of Rest
A healthy sleep schedule helps reinforce a child’s immunity and gives them enough energy to face the day. Kids consume a lot of food and burn a lot of energy, and everything is still new to them. They require naps to allow the brain to process all of this new information, and for the body to recharge.
Your child will usually signal how much napping he or she needs to stay functional. Some parents find their child’s nap schedule doesn’t sync up with what the books or the doctors say. In this case, encourage more quiet time and relaxation that isn’t reliant on sleep. Calming and soothing times have a similar effect and can help ease your little one into a proper nap schedule.
If your child does contract something, the best thing you can do is keep the fluids coming. Children will become dehydrated quickly when they are sick, so give them as much water as they can handle.
Learn when to keep them home, and be sure you have some medicine handy to break fevers (like infant Motrin or Tylenol). Call the doctor as needed and be prepared for a few worried nights, but with these tips, your child will stay healthy and safe.