Unfortunately it is a fact of life that when your child starts day care they are likely to get sick. Not just once but several times in the first 6 months or so whilst their immune system gets used to being exposed to the plethora of germs that are always present at childcare services. Whilst there is no sure fire way to stop your child from getting sick when they start childcare, there are definitely things you can do to help minimise illness with your child in care this winter.
My boys are the children who pick up every single bug out there and we have had that many hospitalisations I have lost count!
So here are my top FIVE tips to help you as a parent minimise the spread of illness in childcare centres:
If your child is sick, please do not take them to childcare
From my experience as a Director in a Long Day Care Centre, the number of children who attended our care whilst sick was quite surprising and upsetting to me. As their carer, watching them try to cope with a noisy, playful environment when all they wanted to do was sleep was heartbreaking.
Now that I am a parent I am seeing it from the other perspective and it is no better! I am dropping my children off and still seeing that there are children who are coughing, sneezing and have runny noses. It makes me say a silent prayer, that today will not be the day my little boys get sick again and end up in hospital.
As parents, it is our responsibility to help each other minimise the spread of illness and infectious disease. Which means, keeping them home until they have fully recovered from their illness. Coming into the winter months this topic becomes even more important and we need to be even more vigilant, a simple runny nose to one child can mean hospitalisation to another.
To do this it is important we do give a sick child or any child who has a temperature panadol, hoping that it will be enough to get them through. It is irresponsible and could mean your child infecting the other children or them becoming sicker themselves. If a child has a temperature it is their bodies natural response to fight off infection, which means they need their mummies and lots rest (if not the doctor).
If you know deep down inside that your child is contagious, please keep them at home and give them lots of cuddles or if you really cannot miss a day off work find an alternative carer for them until the a fit, healthy, smiling little cherubs again.
Teach them to wash their hands
Hand washing is one of the most important practises we can teach our children. There is an art to washing your hands in the most effective way to ensure the germs end up down the drain and not passed along from child to child. If you would like a free poster showing how to wash our hands effectively please subscribe to our newsletter and one will be sent to you.
To help teach your children the importance of hand washing, even if you have a baby, encourage them into the habit of washing their hands at these times:
- After nappy changes, potty or toilet time
- Before and after food
- When coming indoors after playing outside
- When their hands are messy/dirty
- If they sneeze or cough into their hands
Covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze
This one can be a little tricky getting the children to catch those sneaky sneezes and coughs! Encouraging your child to use a tissue or their hands to catch the germs tickling their noses wanting to escape onto all the other gorgeous little children surrounding them is a fantastic way to stop the germs dead in their tracks! The children must follow up with thorough handwashing to ensure the germs end up down the drain and not on the toys, books, home corner etc
Prebiotics and Probiotics
There are a number of different tips and tricks mothers I know use to help a child recover quickly from illness. Some of these include: essential oils, naturopathy and vitamins. Personally, I cannot speak highly enough of Probiotics. I give my boys 1 teaspoon every morning in their breakfast and can honestly say that I believe it has helped with the number of illnesses they have since contracted and the severity of them. Yes, they still may get sick but nowhere near as bad as they were and our hospital visits are now few and far between.
What are Prebiotics and Probiotics?
Prebiotics are found generally in several fermented foods like sauerkraut. They help promote and stimulate the growth and survival of good bacteria whilst discouraging the growth of harmful bacteria.
Probiotics are the live microorganisms found in good bacteria. They are needed to help support the gastrointestinal tract, are one of the best ways to support the immune system and can help maintain a healthy level of good bacteria if your child might end up on antibiotics.
Together these two make a powerful defence against those nasty winter germs that just keep on giving!
Ensuring your child’s environment at the centre they attend is clean, safe and hygienic is a very important step in ensuring your child has the best chance of staying healthy this winter!
Sometimes it can be a losing battle if the centre your child attends do not practise good hygiene skills with the children and doesn’t send the unwell children home. As they say it takes a village to raise a child and your childcare centre is a part of your village and it is important to raise the issue with the staff and director.
I really do not like winter, purely for the fact I know my children will be sick more often than healthy but at the end of the day just a simple cuddle with their Mumma can make them and me feel so much better.
Stay warm and bug free this winter