Childcare centers and preschools are fabulous for providing toddlers with opportunities to socialize and learn in a safe and nurturing environment. You may be considering enrolling your child in daycare or preschool but are concerned about the prospect of dealing with frequent illness. Fear not. While kids do pass things on to one another, there are precautions you can take to keep your child safe and help prevent the spread of germs.
Tips for keeping your child healthier in daycare & preschool
- Teach your child about proper handwashing. This is their best defense against the spread of germs. They should always wash their hands with warm water and soap. Lathering and then scrubbing for about 15-20 seconds. Perhaps teach them to sing a song in their head or recite the alphabet as they wash to ensure the adequate time. They should then rinse hands under warm, running water and dry with a clean towel. Teach your child to wash frequently. This includes prior to eating, after using the bathroom and after playing.
- Stress to your children the importance of not touching their faces, putting their fingers in their mouths or biting their nails. This simple lesson will go far in helping to prevent the spread of germs.
- Be sure your child is up to date on all recommended vaccinations and has regular checkups with a pediatrician.
- Be sure your child is getting plenty of sleep each night. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 1-2 years of age should sleep 11-14 hours per 24-hour period including naps. Children 3-5 should sleep 10-13 hours. Make sufficient sleep a priority for your entire family. You are a role model for your child, so set a good example. You should also reduce screen time around bedtime. Too much screen time can impair your child’s quality of sleep.
- Encourage a healthy diet. Just as getting enough quality sleep can reduce your child’s risk of getting sick, so can maintaining a healthy diet. Be sure your child starts each day with a healthy breakfast. Plan for healthy snacks and make mealtime a priority. Whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, provide many nutrients to a growing child.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Hydration is as important as nutrition. We can’t stress this enough. Staying hydrated can prevent fatigue and improve mood and overall health. Promote healthy drink choices like water, sugar-free juice, and milk.
- Teach your child to cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and to wash their hands afterward.
- Although you like your child to share, there are certain things they should never share. Tell your child not to share a snack or drink container with other children in daycare & preschool. Drinking from the same bottle or straw or eating a snack from the same bag can spread germs quickly.
- Encourage your child to get plenty of exercise. Exercise helps boost the immune system and prepares a body to fight off germs.
- Choose a clean childcare facility with a formal sick policy and adequate preventative measures. Be sure to do a site visit to the daycare/preschool prior to enrolling your child. Ask how often the toys, sleep mats, and other shared items are cleaned and sanitized. Ask about other facility cleaning policies, such as the cleaning and disinfecting of changing tables. Does the facility teach and encourage good hygiene habits on a daily basis? Are there adequate sinks for proper handwashing? Does the staff take adequate germ spread prevention measures? Hand washing is as important for staff as it is for children. Finally, ask the childcare facility about their sick policy. These are all important points when choosing the right daycare center.
When should you keep your child home from daycare & preschool
For an overview of Building Blocks Learning Center’s sick policy, please reach out to any of our center administrators in Wilkes-Barre, Mountaintop or Dallas. Remember, even the healthiest children will get sick occasionally. How sick is too sick to send to daycare or preschool? If your child has a fever, a persistent cough, is vomiting or has diarrhea, you should keep your child home. If they have a contagious condition such as pink eye or head lice, they should also be kept home. If you have questions or are unsure, contact your childcare provider for their specific policies.
Read more blogs and helpful tips like this on our website at www.buildingblockslearningcenter.com.