The dreaded sick season is upon us, and with it comes the five words that make every parent shudder: “Mommy, I don’t feel well.” That little sentence is often followed by a hand to the forehead, analysis of symptoms, and the decision of how serious the sickness might be. It’s a tale as old as time, right?
It may feel like your family can’t escape sickness during these cold winter months, but there are preventive measures you can take to keep the germs at bay.

Practice Good Handwashing

Hand sanitizer is great in a pinch, but nothing beats old fashioned soap and water. Good handwashing is a skill you can teach your kids at a young age, and it’s not just for before meals or after using the restroom. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Handwashing is like a do-it-yourself vaccine.”  Encourage your kids to wash their hands well and often.

Prioritize Exercise, but Not Over Sleep

Getting enough exercise is vital for healthy immune systems. Being active boasts a myriad of health benefits, so it’s important to find ways to get your kids–and yourself– moving in the cold winter months. Bundle up the whole family for a fun winter walk around the neighborhood, or consider an indoor sports league.
While it’s important to stay active, rest is equally essential. Our bodies need adequate sleep to fight off illnesses. Most children need between 10 and 14 hours of sleep everyday, so set a firm bedtime to make sure your child is getting the rest he or she needs.

Nutrition and Supplements

Another way to fight off illness is to full your little ones with proper nutrition. Prioritize whole foods, focusing on vegetables loaded with the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to run in tip top shape. As parents, we all know that getting kids to eat their veggies is easier said than done. Try adding veggies to a fruit and yogurt smoothie for picky eaters.
The jury is out on whether supplements like probiotics or elderberry boost kids’ immune system, but some research suggests beneficial results. Be sure to consult your doctor before giving your child any supplement.

Caring for sick kids is a full-time job. Be sure to take time for yourself this sick season and practice the same tips. Spring will be here before we know it!