December is here- and with it comes the dreaded cold and flu season. Many moms of babies and toddlers will spend the winter feeling like they’re fighting an uphill battle against germs, but there are some tricks that can help put the tissues away!
Wash, Wash, Wash Your Hands
Hand sanitizer may be convenient, but it is not a substitute for good, old-fashioned hand washing! It’s important to teach kids the right way to wash their hands – with soap and warm water and for the appropriate amount of time. Singing the Alphabet Song or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star teaches kids the right length for hand-washing. It also adds a little fun to get kids excited about washing their hands. Even babies should get their hands washed before and after eating, as well as before and after diaper changes.
Toys Belong in Hands – Not Mouths!
It is natural for babies and little kiddos to stick things in their mouths- fingers, toys, remote controls, basically anything they can find! But this time of year, parents should try their best to keep things away from not only kids’ mouths, but also their noses and eyes. If a toy has slobbery germs all over it, sanitize it before letting a friend or sibling play with it. Another good tip: toddlers can conquer the fork and spoon! At Little Newtons, we teach kids at a young age how to use utensils to avoid spreading germs from hand to mouth at mealtime.
Educate About Elbows
To quote Elmo, “sneeze in the bendy place!” That’s right, our friends on Sesame Street have advice on the proper way to sneeze. (Show the video to your kids by clicking here!) Kids as young as 16 to 17 months can be taught to sneeze and cough into their elbows. There are also several great books on the subject- check out “Germs are Not for Sharing” and read it with your kids. The best ways are for parents to be good models and through continuous reinforcement.
Make Good Choices
It’s important to keep up other healthy habits- especially during the cold and flu season. That includes getting a good night’s sleep and a daily dose of exercise. Don’t be afraid to run around outside and play in the snow – just make sure the kiddos are bundled up. Jackets should be zipped, hats and mittens should be on to fight against catching a cold.