If you’re a germophobe and you’re planning on having kids, I’ve got bad news for you: kids are always around germs! This means exactly what you’re thinking: there’s constantly the threat of colds and the flu.
Okay, okay, I don’t mean to scare you off, or even talk you out of becoming a parent, but I’d like to share with you I used to be like that and it’s possible to be a germophobe with kids and still prevent bacterial and virus infections when you take hygiene seriously, and strengthen the immune system with nutrition, hydration, sleep and supplements.
Be the Example
Kids simply love exploring things with their hands, relying on the sense of touch to get to know the world, and while all of this is good, the problem arises when they start putting things and dirty hands in their mouth, nose and all over their face during the toddler phase.
I always tried to tell my sons why they should wash, and how to wash, until I realised we ought to lead by example, my husband and I, so showing should be a big part of the lesson. Whenever we’d be out, the first thing we’d do is wash hands.
It wasn’t that easy to teach them, you have to be prepared that sometimes it takes longer than expected for them to learn but with a little trick, in our case really bubbly kids soap, it turned into something fun that they were looking forward to the minute they’d enter the house.
Now I don’t even have to remind them to get rid of the “cooties” before every meal, and after using the bathroom, and Noah makes sure he counts 20 seconds whenever he washes. Since we’re leading a sustainable lifestyle, the lesson my husband taught them was to be mindful with the water use, turn off the tap while passing soap over each finger, the palms, then turning it back on again.
Whenever we’re out and about, we also carry our own hand sanitisers with us because you never know when you might be in need of one.
Immune System Boost
Growing up with the help of a supplement or two myself, they’re not foreign to me. Facing ageing, I still end up thinking from time to time how to enrich my diet and age gracefully, asking myself questions like: What supplements should I take? Do collagen supplements work?
After getting myself vitamins and minerals (so we’re yet to see how they work in keeping wrinkles at bay!), I got my boys some too, specifically vita gummies full of vitamin C and zinc, the essential antioxidants. Despite the rich diet with vitamins and minerals from all the fruits and veggies they eat, I figured they could get the immune system boost with the help of a set of supplements.
While they make no fuss about eating their fruits and veggies, especially broccoli, spinach, peppers and drinking lots of fresh citrus fruits juices, I consider it important to supplement antioxidants, especially vitamin C during cold and flu season knowing how easy it is to spread viruses and bacteria when kids spend hours together at school.
Hydration is also one of the aspects a parent can’t overlook. If your kids aren’t that big fans of drinking water, or you notice their urine is rather dark, you can make water fun by getting cool glasses with some of their favourite cartoon characters.
Same as the importance of a healthy, well-balanced diet, and a little bit of help from supplements, a good night’s sleep is key in keeping the immune system strong. My sons are in the phase where sleep isn’t as interesting as toys, story books or the cartoons and shows they can’t miss an episode of, but the rule is going to bed at 9pm every night, no exceptions.
This is especially essential now that they’re refusing to have afternoon naps. Jade asked me how we pull it off to have such well-behaved kids when it comes to sleep, and while it seems easy it wasn’t at the beginning; now both Ethan and Noah know better than to go to bed later than 9, after being punished with missing some important cartoon and show episodes.
Sleep not only helps with their proper growth, it’s also essential for the body’s rest and recovery after a day full of activities and homework.
They’re already old enough to know not to touch their faces with dirty hands, yet it’s always good to remind them not to share utensils and drinkware with school mates or friends, particularly not during cold and flu season. This is a great step in preventing cross-contamination from spreading.
Furthermore, we make sure to always cover up when coughing or sneezing, and wash hands right after doing so when sick. Along with this, my husband and I taught them to toss out tissues whenever coughing or sneezing in them. Likewise, lately they help me clean dust and germs off of surfaces at home, and without asking me they throw the tissues out after the use.
Yes, I’m a proud mum and though I used to be a germ freak, my sons have made me realise it’s possible to live around germs and curb the threat of infections without being dead-stuck on spending most of your days just cleaning and cleaning.