Want your children to stay healthy this school year? Grab your Back-to-School Health Tips for Kids at Every Grade Level – full guide for kids of all ages! This is a sponsored post. All healthy opinions are my own.
Back-to-School Health Tips for Kids at Every Grade Level
I know, I know – but it’s that time where we talk about the “C” and “F” words again.
No…not those ones.
Cold and flu, my fellow parents. Cold and Flu. Back-to-School means back to germs – and with two kids in full time elementary school, that’s twice the amount of germs attacking my family. The odds are against me. No bueno. So how do we keep everyone in the family healthy this school season? Check out these back-to-school health tips for kids at every grade level. So whether you have a preschooler, elementary age or middle schooler in the house, you’re prepared to keep your little ones healthy all school season long.
Bonus: you also get to see how my daughter likes to “quaff” in the mornings. 5 going on 15? Yeah, I think so.
Preschool Health Tips
Bless you if you’re a parent of a preschooler this year. With a new place and lots of new kids, prevention is key with this age.
- Teach them about the importance of hand washing for germ prevention. For kids, regularly washing their hands can be a fun and entertaining activity. It also provides a chance for them to take an active role in their own self-care. Children should wash their hands for 20 seconds, or about how long it takes to sing the happy birthday song.
- Teach them to cough into their elbow. According to Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson of Seattle Mama Doc, germs are most commonly spread by the respiratory droplets emitted from sneezing and coughing. When you sneeze or cough, or even wipe your nose with your hand, the droplets are transmitted to things like door knobs, remotes, kitchen counters, and other surfaces that people around you are likely to also touch. Explain this to your preschooler, and teach them that coughing into their elbow can help germs from spreading to others.
- Always use the proper word for vitamins when speaking to them, never call it candy. In fact, when we talked with Dr. Swanson about this, she admitted to calling liquid medicines “yum-yums” when her boys were young in an effort to get them to take acetaminophen or other medicine easily. She has since called this a “totally novice move as a mom and pediatrician.” Never tell kids medicines (including vitamins) are candy, even if they don’t like to take it. Medicine is medicine — Dr. Swanson said, “We can discuss its benefit but really can’t confuse or inflate it to that of candy.”
- Teach them to only take medicine from a parent or trusted caregiver. Dr. Swanson notes that although this is a safeguard, especially for older children, “We have to remember that young children will always be led by their curiosity.” And make sure all your medicines are stored safely up and away and out of sight! Find more information about the safe storage of medicines here.
Elementary School Health Tips
Clear communication, independent skill building and good foundations, now is the age where kids form good healthy habits for their own self care.
- Have them join you when reading the Drug Facts label of medicines. Whether your elementary school-aged child comes home from school sick or is battling seasonal allergies, if you reach for an OTC medicine to help treat their symptoms, involve them in the process of reading the Drug Facts label before administering the medicine. They will learn about safe dosing and using the proper dosing device, along with creating a good habit of reading the label first.
- Involve them in how to safely dispose of OTC medicines. Elementary school-aged kids like to be involved. Show them that OTCs have an expiration date on the label. Tell them that once a medicine reaches its expiration date, it can become less effective. And whenever you schedule your annual cleaning out of your medicine cabinet, involve them in how to safely dispose of OTC medicines.
- Continue the self-care conversations. Obviously the importance of hand-washing doesn’t stop after the preschool years, and elementary school-aged kids still need gentle reminders. Additionally, early elementary is about the age when kids take the lead in brushing their own teeth but still will need reminders to brush twice a day, along with a trusted caregiver checking in to ensure they are continuing good brushing and flossing habits. Find more tips on good oral care habits
Middle School Health Tips
Gotta love our middle school kids. Leading by example, gentle reminders and letting them take the lead in their own self care – parents, you know how hard it is to let go. But we can still be there to support our middle school kids with these tips.
- Teach them how to swallow pills. Kids age out of pediatric medicines by early middle school. Dr. Swanson notes that during her education, she was trained to think that once children hit double digits (10 years) it’s appropriate to think of them as “capable” of swallowing pills. But findings published in cite research demonstrating that learning how to swallow a pill may be easier for younger children to master before they’re facing anxiety that can come from having to swallow something whole.
- Prepare them for self-care during puberty. From late elementary school through middle school – the conversation about personal hygiene and self-care is never a one and done. As kids enter puberty (roughly between ages 9-14 according to Dr. Swanson), a lot of them start to develop body odor. This is normal. But kids need to learn that deodorants can help get rid of the odor of sweat by covering it up, and antiperspirants actually stop or dry up perspiration. Dr. Swanson notes that there’s no specific age at which kids can start using it, but they should read and follow the directions on the label.
- Regularly remind them of other self-care basics. During these middle school years, parents will find that it’s useful to regularly remind kids about: showering, wearing clean clothes, and twice-daily teeth brushing.
So what’s the important back-to-school health tips for kids? I truly believe it’s us as parents, practicing what we preach. Whether you’re 3 or 99, make sure that you’re taking your health seriously. Because mama ain’t got time for cold and flu in this house! I hope that these back-to-school health tips for kids of every grade level help you and your family prepare for an amazing school year. Let’s just keep it healthy, ok? Pass the tissues and hand sanitizer, please!
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I am a #KnowYourOTCs blogging ambassador, compensated by the CHPA’s Educational Foundation in support of KnowYourOTCs.org. All opinions are my own. Be sure to follow Raising Whasians for more family tips, delicious recipes, and kid crafts.