Prevention is better than cure, as the saying goes. Here are 10 simple hacks to boost good habits, minimise germs and keep your kids in excellent health.
- Put a jug of iced water with lemon, cucumber or mint on the table at every meal. Water is always more delicious cold, and if it’s right there and appetising, children are more likely to drink it.
- Avoid individual fruit juice boxes for school. Rather use a sippy cup or juice bottle and dilute the juice by at least half. That’s half the sugar!
- The big danger time for unhealthy snacking is when kids come home from school ravenous. Have a plate of health snacks - it can be as simple as peanut butter sandwiches and fruit - all cut up and ready for when they get home.
- Have a bowl of carrot sticks available while you are making supper. When little people come into the kitchen starving, they can snack on those. It reduces the nagging and ups the vegetable intake.
- To boost exercise, do indoor activities like reading, or playing with soft toys, outside. Once kids are outdoors for whatever reason, they are more likely to get involved in physical activity.
- Weigh your child’s school bag and encourage them to empty out unnecessary items daily or at least regularly. Yes, really! Heavy backpacks are bad for backs. Experts advise that the backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 10% of the child’s weight.
- Make sure kids wash hands for long enough - experts say 15 to 20 seconds - by getting them to sing a favourite nursery rhyme or song from beginning to end while they wash. Most germs are spread from hands to mouth or face. Get into the habit of washing hands when children come home from school, the playground or the shops. And before meals and after going to the toilet, of course.
- Wash favourite toys regularly, especially after a bout of illness. That teddy may be beloved, but it’s probably full of germs.
- Teach children to sneeze or cough into their elbow. That way, they won’t spread the germs into the air or onto their hands and then to the whole class (or the whole family!).
- One of the best things you can do for your child’s immune system and overall health is to make sure they get enough sleep. Get into a good bedtime routine when they are little and don’t abandon it as they get older. And it goes without saying - no phones or screens in the bedroom!
PLUS: Get the flu vaccine. It’s the best way to avoid flu. What are you waiting for?
Use these handy health hacks to boost good habits and avoid germ exposure and you can look forward to a healthy, happy family, all year round.