As my children were growing up both my husband and I were working. Just like you I hated it when the children got sick because you feel so helpless. In turn it is not much fun being the mom and getting sick since (unless you are on your death bed) this is a job that does not stop. Any sick family member puts a cog in the wheel and it’s always better to take preventative measures than to deal with a full-fledged outbreak. Because, as we all know, when one family member goes down the dominoes start to fall. Most of what I am writing about is common sense but sometimes when things get busy in our hurried day to day lives we do not think about the simple things.
1. Everyone Gets Enough Sleep – This seems simple but the busier our lives get and the more we try to squeeze into our days the harder this gets. Between school, work, athletic events, social events, meetings, etc. it gets increasingly harder to get the rest we need. Even if we can maintain a regular sleep pattern for our children we sometimes find it hard to manage it ourselves. This is a very important health issue. Not only physically but in every other aspect of our lives. When you do not get enough sleep you are not as mentally alert, physically our immune systems get low, your temperament suffers, and your all around spiritual condition deteriorates. Even if it means you have to sit down as the mom and dad or as a family and decide to let go of some of the events that are taking over your life it is very important to do so. Making a healthier, happier family is the most important thing you can do.
2. Healthy Eating – This will become easier as well if you can cut out a few things from your schedule. It is so hard when you are tired after a long day at work to think about cooking but the choices in meals that you can grab to take home are usually not healthy. This is where a little planning will help. Take just a few minutes to either think of recipes you have that are simple or ask around and get some new ideas from friends and co-workers. There are healthy choices that do not require a lot of work. Get everyone involved in the preparation of the meal and helping with setting the table and clean up after as well. While you are eating healthy don’t forget to have everyone drink lots and lots of water! This will keep them healthy as well.
3. Remind Everyone to Wash Their Hands – Keep after your kids to wash their hands as much as possible. Before meals and after restroom visits are very important. During school and at work we pick up all kinds of germs from others who are carrying colds and flu around so we should make our families conscious (not germ phobic) about dirty hands and keeping them clean and off of our faces.
4. Vitamins – Have everyone take a multi-vitamin daily and drink juice that actually has vitamin C in it. Many juices don’t have many actual benefits at all. Fresh citrus fruits are great if it is the right season. If someone starts to get a cold, or even just the sniffles, start up a regimen of extra vitamin C. If they can’t swallow pills get the chewable kind. Vitamin C gets washed out of your system so you can’t overdo it. This really helped when my children were young. They liked the orange flavor of the chewable vitamin C. But it is great for the adults too! I used to have my kids suck on those zinc drops as well, but sometimes the taste got to them. They say the “Airborne” brand helps a lot as well.
5. Eating and Drinking after Friends – Not one I think adults need to hear but you should advise your children against eating and drinking after their friends. Again, I do not want to sound paranoid but I recall when my kids got together with cousins everyone was sharing and inevitably an illness came up. I tried my best to keep cups labeled and let everyone have their own portions.
6. Keep Your Children Out of the Waiting Rooms – Pediatrician offices should have a big DANGER sign on the door. People used to look at me like I was crazy but I would bring my own toys and sit with my kids out in the hall. I would check in and tell them to come get me out there. If my child was carrying strep throat or measles or chicken pox or whatever I did not want to expose others or get them sick with something on top of what they had. We have all seen kids sitting around in the waiting room with running noses and fevers playing with the toys in the center of the room. What are they thinking? Maybe they can’t get away from it but I can. Speaking of doctors, make sure you keep up with their annual check-ups and immunizations as well.
7. Childcare – I know it is a controversial issue on whether you take your kids to day care or keep them at home. I know sometimes it can’t be helped because of schedules and finances, etc. I also am aware that some people think their kids need to be socialized. I personally am not a fan. I think they will be fine until preschool or Kindergarten in their social life. You can invite friends over or have play dates if you are concerned. If you can keep from it do not put them in day care because it is a hotbed for sickness. Hire a babysitter or nanny for your home if you have to work or even better ask a family member to help. At the very least find private, smaller home-based care that is trustworthy. I was blessed to have my mother stay with my children. Your babies do not need to be sick all the time and away from Mom and Dad too.
Make sure everyone gets plenty of time to play and exercise as well. This is a surefire way to keep minds and bodies at peak performance. With flu season and winter colds in our future these are just a few ways to help our families battle illness. It just takes a little planning and prevention on your part. You may not be able to stop all ailments coming at your family but you can put a stop to most of them. Let’s keep our families healthy!
Ken Myers as an Expert Advisor on multiple household help issues to many Organizations and groups, and is a mentor for other “Mom-preneurs” seeking guidance. He is a regular contributor of “www.gonannies.com“. You can get in touch with him at email@example.com.