As parents, we often worry more about our children during winter, especially about their health and safety. Well, that is for good reason! Studies have shown that children are more likely to get sick in the winter months than any other time of year. There are a few reasons for this. First, kids are more likely to be indoors in the winter. This means they’re exposed to more germs from other kids (and adults) who might be sick. Second, cold weather can weaken the immune system, making it easier for kids to catch illnesses.
So, what can we do to help keep our kids healthy during the winter? Here are seven essential tips the whole family can benefit from:
- Layers, layers, layers!
Make sure they're dressed appropriately for the cold weather. This means layers of warm clothing that will cover their whole body, including their head, hands, and feet and keep them warm in winter. Dressing in layers can help control the body temperature. When going outside, you might want to put on different layers of clothing, a jacket and a breathable blanket, which you can take off when you’re inside and it is warmer so that your child does not get sweaty. It is also practical to carry around a light-weight blanket with you so that you can wrap it around the child when they get cold. If there is snow or rain, you might want to put on a water-resistant jacket and water-resistant shoes as well.
- Stay hydrated
Keep them hydrated by having them drink plenty of fluids, even if they're not thirsty. In summer it is easier to realize you’re thirsty than in winter. This is especially important if they play in the snow. In summer it is easier to realize you’re thirsty than in winter, so they can quickly become dehydrated without realizing it.
- Wash hands often
Washing hands is one of the best ways to prevent getting sick and spreading illness. Teach your children to wash their hands regularly, especially before they eat, after they use the restroom, and when they come home from school or play. Parents should always keep their own hands clean when they’re around children as well, in order not to affect them.
- Cover coughs and sneezes
Coughing and sneezing can spread illness quickly, especially indoors where you spend most of your time during winter. Teach your children to cover their mouths and noses with a tissue or their sleeve when they sneeze or cough. It’s also important to clean surfaces that may have been contaminated with germs.
- Keep an eye for the signs of being too cold
Pay attention to signs that they may be getting too cold, such as shivering, red cheeks or fingers, or slow and clumsy movements. If you see any of these signs, bring them inside immediately and remove any wet clothing for safety. Slowly warm them up with blankets and a warm drink until they're feeling better again.
- Stay home when sick
If your child is sick, keep them at home until they feel better. This will help prevent them from spreading their illness to others and give them some time to rest so they can feel better.
By following these tips, parents can help their kids stay healthy all winter long!