Every year during the winter season, our community, like others all around the country experiences an uptick in illnesses like the common cold and influenza. It is not uncommon for bugs like these to pass from person to person in a single-family, and it's often difficult to keep the whole family well during flu season. This year, of course, adds another layer of concern to the issue as we're experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases that experts expect will only get worse over the coming months.
At St. Barnabas were committed to doing everything we can to keep our students and their families healthy. If you are looking for some parenting tips to help keep your family healthy this winter, we’ve cultivated a list of ideas for you.
1. Get Outside As Much As Possible
This may be the most often recommended of our parenting tips no matter the subject matter we're discussing. Children and adults all thrive from spending time outside. Research shows that spending time outdoors increases your Vitamin D, can improve your mood and focus, and may even help you heal faster. Who needs anything more than that? But an added benefit of spending time outside is that it's more difficult to transmit airborne diseases in open outdoor spaces. You've probably heard doctors on television recommending that if people are going to congregate during the holidays they do so outside, this is why.
Fortunately, the winters in Florida are mild enough to facilitate this outdoor time. Unlike our friends in the cold north we won’t get snowed-in this year. So if you’re worried about keeping your family safe from any and all illnesses that are bound to be passed around your community this year, consider spending more time in the great outdoors.
2. Get Plenty Of Rest
Sleep is vital for maintaining your health all year long. Our immune systems depend upon sleep to help keep us healthy. Research has shown that our immune systems power up while we're sleeping and perform essential tasks to help us stay healthy. Some think this happens because we are expending less energy during our sleeping hours. You’ve likely seen this phenomenon in action in yourself or your children.
The holidays are busy, and the new year is packed with new experiences and new activities, don’t forget to give your children plenty of time for rest. Of all these parenting tips this might have the most benefit for you. Sleep will help keep them healthy, plus it will also help maintain your sanity and give you a little more peace and quiet!
3. Make A Habit Of Good Hygiene
If ever there is a time to instill good hygiene habits in your children it's during the winter. The primary mode of transmission for COVID-19 appears to be through aerosol droplets. Basically, this means that tiny droplets of the disease are transmitted through the air when we cough, shout, sing, or even breathe. For this reason, masks are worn in public spaces on our campus, and are mandated by the city of DeLand. But, as we know there are more germs around us than COVID-19 this year. Many other illnesses like the flu and the common cold can be easily transmitted through touch. Once your child has touched a door handle, or even another child infected with germs and then touched his or her face or mouth, their chances of infection go way up.
Most parents have already taught their children to wash their hands, but this is a good time for a refresher course. Start developing a handwashing habit based upon activities they take part in. For example, we wash our hands every time we eat, use the bathroom, or come in from playing outside. By pairing the good habit with a regular everyday activity, it's more likely to set in. In addition to hand washing, it's also important for children to learn not to touch their faces, to cover their faces when they sneeze, to avoid touching certain surfaces if possible.
4. Eat Well And Drink Plenty Of Water
Do you ever notice how parenting tips sometimes apply to our lives too? Here's one of them. In addition to sleep, our immune systems require a healthy and balanced body. And after a couple of months of eating big turkey dinners and lots of sweets, all of our bodies are craving a little more of the dietary basics. This is a great time to swap the hot chocolates for a tall glass of water and the sugary desserts for a piece of fresh fruit. This isn’t to say that kids shouldn't enjoy the holiday celebrations, but they (like all of us) should enjoy them in moderation.
If you're struggling to get your child to drink enough water, consider getting them a water bottle with the face of their favorite character on it. Or, if your child is especially competitive, create a competition within your family to see who can drink their daily water every day for a month.
Maintaining your children’s health is important every year, but this year it seems even more critical. If you’re looking for information beyond these parenting tips about getting through this winter with no illnesses in your family, contact your trusted medical professional. 2020 was a strange year, but we made it through! And with some focus on these simple parenting tips, we’ll make it through this Florida winter as healthy as can be.
Follow along to read more of our parenting tips, and contact us anytime for more information about joining the St. Barnabas School community.