It's an inevitability. Our children are going to catch a cold every now and then. Taking preventative measures is key when it comes to keeping our little ones germ-free and healthy. This, of course, means us parents will more than likely get a cold, too.
It’s like clock-work, every time Kaia seems slightly under the weather her dad has to go and get a full-blown head cold, leaving me to sleep on the couch trying to relieve myself from his snoring.
Not sheltering our children from germs is a method some may decide to take. The belief being once the child has been exposed to that specific bug, he or she is then free from picking it up again. This line of thinking leads to the notion that it will in turn strengthen one's immune system. While this can be a valid point there are better and more effective ways of going about immunizing; ways that can help keep us parents free of illness as well.
You wouldn’t send your child out into 90 degree weather without sun block to protect their skin? And even though you would do this they may still get a sun burn, just like they’ll undoubtedly catch a cold. So, your best bet is to keep that medicine cabinet stocked year-round. From cold medicine to mosquito repellent especially needed for those living near the American River in the spring and summer months.
For toddlers I feel making it an early habit to ween them from sucking their thumbs or picking their noses right away. This can decrease the chance of these behaviors becoming habitual sooner than later, also decreasing the chance of them falling ill as often. Lowering the chances they will put their hands on (or in) germ-infested places will simply raise the chance of them not picking up those germs. I always feel so bad for not wanting to hold Kaia’s hand to cross the street in fear of what may be lurking on those fingers.
Teaching our children how to properly wash and dry their hands and the importance of it is also a must. Using warm water, with a nickel-size dot of soap, scrubbing hands together while singing ‘happy birthday’ twice or slowly counting to 20 is the method I took. I feel like somewhat of a robot at times, but it’s necessary that I keep reminding she wash her hands after each time she uses the bathroom, puts her hands in her mouth (or elsewhere) and even after she's done playing, whether it be her with dolls or outside in the dirt.
It may be a bit of a task for some depending on the age, but showing our children how to cough, for example, into their shoulder or elbow versus their hands, can also lower the risk level of spreading germs to others.
If these pesky germs have invaded your munchkin’s immune system, leaving them sick, sore or even worse, just maintain your wits and remembe this, too, shall pass. Even if it means about 1,000 loads of laundry, cleaning every little thing he or she touches, just remember all the money and time you'll save not being sick and/or buying medicine for them and for yourself.