Winter with small children doesn’t have to mean months of back-to-back colds and runny noses. Here are five simple ways to stop sharing germs back and forth between family members!
1.) Create tiny germaphobes. Ok, not that extreme, but talking to your kids about how sickness spreads can be very educational. Explain how people can get each other sick, paint pictures of germs and hopefully they will be grossed out enough to remember to wash their hands. Other things to teach: Cover your face when you cough or sneeze (I like the elbow method!), no kissing on the mouth (preps them for another talk later) and no sharing of dishes, drinks or silverware.
2) Quarantine. Already have someone sick? Keep them away from the rest of the family, except of course their caretaker. Once they are well make sure to thoroughly sanitize the “sick room”. Wash bedding in hot water and spray the area down with disinfectant.
3) Toothbrush control. Toothbrushes are a germ paradise. They should be replaced every couple of months but I also recommend tossing them after a nasty illness. You can sanitize toothbrushes weekly by setting them bristles down in hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes then setting them out to air dry. Toothbrushes should be stored individually (never touching one another) in a closed bathroom cabinet or drawer.
4) Disinfect and sanitize. One of the best ways to stop the winter cold cycle! Use a spray disinfectant often to wipe down common surfaces and objects. Light switches, doorknobs, banisters, electronics… anything that multiple family members touch on a regular basis. Put out hand sanitizer in the bathroom and kitchen.
5) Boost immune systems. You can strengthen your family’s defenses by serving nutritious meals and encouraging everyone to drink lots of liquids. Ask your doctor to recommend a good vitamin supplement for each member of the family. Getting enough sleep is also vital, so set a bedtime and stick to it!