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Fa La La La Let's Stay Healthy This Holiday! Our Ten Tips for Keeping Germs Away

Being sick during the holidays is the worst! Back when I was a single lady, oh so many years ago, I almost never got sick. (I also had a waist and nice things in my house, but that's a story for another time.) Now that I have three kids under eight, it's a lot harder to stay healthy! I'd have to make my kids wash their hands every 10 minutes if I really wanted to keep our house germ-free. One of them always has their hands down their pants, scratching their tushies, and then they inevitably touch everything.

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UGH! Now that I've gotten you completely disgusted, special apologies to you mamas of infants who aren't mini germ factories yet, let's talk about how to keep our kids and ourselves healthy this winter.

TEN TIPS FOR A HEALTHIER HOLIDAY SEASON

  • Wash Hands Each Time You Come Home. Most kids learn to wash their hands after going to the bathroom and before they eat, but this is another good routine for them to learn. When you return home from holiday shopping, school parties, or any other event out of your house: wash those hands! When I started making my kids do this it really cut down on the sick days in our house.
  • When You Wash, Do It Right. I'm going to get on my soapbox here for a minute because I feel like this is the cause of so much illness, especially at schools. To properly de-germ your hands, you need to wash with soap for at least a FULL 20 seconds, rinse and dry. My kids love to just run their hands under the water and then claim that they've washed. They might as well not be washing at all because they're just wasting water! Rant over.
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  • Eat the Rainbow at Every Meal. Make sure kids are getting at least one serving of colorful, vitamin-filled fruits and veggies every time they sit down to eat. Keep experimenting with new types they haven't tried before until you find something they like. My son never liked the usual banana, apple, or baby carrot but loves mango, blackberries and kale.
  • Stay Hydrated. To make this more fun, take your child to pick out their own special water bottle. If they don't enjoy drinking water, let them choose something to help flavor it like lemon or mint. For older toddlers and children, check out this app, Plant Nanny. You get to create a plant that grows as you log the water that you're drinking.
  • Use Your Germ Catcher. As soon as a child is old enough to understand you, teach them to use their elbow as their "germ catcher" when they need to sneeze or cough.
  • Discourage Sharing Cups and Utensils. This is a tough one because it feels like we're sending our young children mixed messages. Aren't we always encouraging them to share their things with their siblings and friends? It's important to explain to them that our mouths can contain viruses and bacteria that, while not harmful to us, can make our friends and family sick. That is something they do not want to share.
  • Vitamin D for Everyone! It's a crucial ingredient for our immune systems, and we often don't get enough of it during the winter months. Try these chewables for kids 2 and up or these drops for babies.
  • Try Elderberry Syrup. My MIL swears by those zinc tablets to stop or minimize a cold. Well, a spoonful of this does the same thing for kids. It's pretty cheap on Amazon and you can keep a bottle in your fridge for up to a year. Reach for it whenever you sense sickness coming on.
  • Sleep, Sleep, Sleep. Kids are less likely to get sick when they're well-rested. Encourage deep sleep by trying this tip from Becca Campbell at Little Z's Sleep Consulting: Add magnesium-rich Epsom salts to your child's bath. Magnesium has been proven to reduce anxiety symptoms and calm the nervous system, promoting sound sleep. You can also add a few drop of lavender essential oil to make an even more relaxing bath.
  • Help Kids Destress. It's been proven that stress can weaken your immune system. It's never to early to teach children to relax with deep breathing exercises and meditation. My kids love Head Space and Insight Timer's guided meditations that are tailored to them.
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(Aww, You're sweet, Ryan, but let's just prevent that shit instead.)

Wishing you and yours a happy and HEALTHY holiday!

♥ Erin

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