Cold and flu season can be a challenging time for families, especially when it comes to keeping kids healthy, and if you have a big family like us, it can take everyone down. Here are a few tips and tricks that we have found to be effective over the years in raising our 6 kids. Yes we still get sick, but science seems to show that these things can help, and below we share how we make them happen in our home:
Encourage frequent hand washing: One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of illness is to teach kids the importance of frequent hand washing, especially after blowing their nose, using the bathroom, or coming into contact with potentially contaminated surfaces. To make this more fun and to encourage thorough washing, we like keeping a ScrubBEE silicone scrubber by each sink. The kids enjoy scrubbing with the soft bristles and the ScrubBEE really helps them get thoroughly clean. Plus it’s dishwasher safe, so cleaning it is a breeze.
Get plenty of rest: Make sure your kids are getting enough sleep to help keep their immune systems strong. To help with this it is important to create a calm and relaxing bedtime routine. We really struggled with this one around the holidays, our kids got so off their routine with the winter break that it took a miracle to get us back on. After January was here we started getting intentional about our wind down/nighttime routine. We made sure to include more bubble baths, made their beds cozy, and started using this adorable meditation/sleep sounds device called Zenimal. Seriously, Zenimal was a game changer in helping us reverse our bad habits at bedtime. Our kids have the turtle that is pre-loaded with 9 guided meditations and 3 sleep tracks. I have mine in the shape of a geode, and my favorite Meditation Card is the Mama Collection that gears towards more self-care and resilience practices. We have the most peaceful sleep after playing the “sleep meditation” track.
Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help to support your kids' immune systems and keep them feeling their best. Encourage them to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-rich foods. A lot of the time, we like making smoothies and hiding spinach or kale in them along with lots of oranges and strawberries for more Vitamin C. Some of our kids only like vegetables if they have a dip like ranch or hummus so I like to keep some on hand. When we were traveling for the holidays, we made sure to bring our Suction-Go-Bowl for our road trips. It really helped to keep my pickier eaters happy because they could have their veggies with their dip, just like we have at home.
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help to flush out germs and keep your kids' bodies functioning properly. Encourage your kids to drink water throughout the day. We have found that fun water bottles make this a lot more exciting. Each of our kids has their own water bottle they bring around with them during the day and they are free to decorate them with stickers however they want.
Encourage regular exercise: The science is of course clear that regular physical activity can help to boost your kids' immune systems and keep them healthy. We have found that the key to getting our kids to exercise regularly without a fight is to simply engage our kids in fun activities that require a lot of moving. We go on walks and hikes, we ride bikes, and we play games or sports that get us moving, but we don’t let on that the reason we are doing these activities is for exercise because we don’t want them to feel like exercise is a chore.
Here is the problem though, exercise can be much more difficult during the winter because of the weather. We find that if we are extra intentional about it, we can get past this by either getting outside properly bundled up, or by finding opportunities to play indoors. If you struggle getting out with your littles due to the colder weather check out our favorite car seat-safe winter coats by Buckle Me Baby.
When outdoor activities just aren’t possible for us, our go-to activity is simply dance. We have a disco light speaker similar to this one here and we have a fun playlist of the songs that our kids can’t help but move to. Even though our living room is small, we get all the exercise we need in our evening dance parties. It is fun, it tires all of us out, and it is something we don’t have to force anyone to do. The beat of the of music is all the encouragement they need :)
By following these tips, we hope you can help to keep your kids healthier and happier during cold and flu season. And hopefully spring will be here before we know it!
Wishing you and yours all the best!
-Amy Perry, Owner of SnoofyBee LLC