As winter approaches, we as parents are gearing up for the inevitable onslaught of daycare bugs that come with the season. Cold and flu viruses can spread like wildfire in daycare settings, leaving children vulnerable to illness. However, there are steps we can take to help our little ones avoid daycare bugs and stay healthy all winter long. Here are my top tips to keep in mind:
Note, I am not a medical professional, these are just some things that have worked for us. Always seek professional medical advice.
Hand-washing is the first line of defense against germs. Teach your child how to wash their hands properly, using warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. I always make sure Billie washes her hands before eating, if we’ve been out somewhere (especially playgrounds…!), and before bed (Billie sucks her thumb in bed so I try to always make sure her hands are clean).
Encourage your child to cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze and to dispose of used tissues in the bin. Try to encourage your child to stop putting things in their mouth too (I know it’s easier said than done, but worth trying).
A strong immune system can help fight off germs. Make sure your child is getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and staying active.
Give your little ones an extra boost with a kids multi-vitamin. Specifically look for Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc. These are all great for supporting a healthy immune system. Billie has multi-vitamin gummies which taste yummy too!
The use of probiotics can have lots of health benefits by introducing good bacteria into the digestive system and keeping things in balance. One easy way to include probiotics in your little one’s diet is in special probiotic yoghurt and other dairy products. Probiotics are also really important after taking antibiotics, as antibiotics can reduce the good bacteria in the gut. This applies for adults too!
Keep your child home if they’re sick, and avoid exposing them to other sick children. It’s also a good idea to notify your daycare centre, as there may be an outbreak or something going around.
Germs can linger on surfaces. Disinfect commonly touched areas like toys, doorknobs, and countertops.
Talk to your child’s daycare providers about their illness policies, cleaning routines, and what you can do to help keep your child healthy.
Unfortunately, daycare bugs (and bugs in general) are inevitable and somewhat unavoidable. As our little ones are exposed to different viruses and bugs their immune systems develop and they become more resilient as they get older. My own experience with my daughter Billie was that the first 6 months at daycare were the worst, but things did improve over time. The most important thing to remember is you’re not alone. I stand in solidarity with you, it’s bloody tough!