Here’s a short story about back to school time:
One day before we had kids in school, I turned to my partner and said, “You know what? We’ve been pretty lucky in that we don’t get sick too often. This will be good for us when the kids start school.” And she told me, “that’s true, that will be good.” And then our kids started school and four years later, we’ve all had colds every single September ever.
This isn’t an unusual tale. Sure, maybe you are a little less naive going into the first day of school than we were, but surely you never thought September would bring as much illness as it does.
Avoiding illness altogether may be impossible, but we try to focus on a few things to help us at least minimize the number of days we spend holed up in our rooms.
You hear this one all year round so the message can get a little boring when it’s really, really needed. So mix it up with some fun hand washing games. Using an apple to find out about bacteria, and have your kids look at their hands with a microscope activities are a few of my favourites.
And something that works for me? Have delicious smelling soap.
Get as much sleep as possible
I know that with kids this could seem a bit like a “have a million dollars” type suggestion but it is important to focus on sleep and rest at this time of year. A few ways to get kids into bed early while still having fun includes making your own shadow puppets or writing your own bedtime stories together.
What I remember more vividly than almost anything from my childhood is Flintstones Vitamins. I also remember scoring four goals in a hockey game once but who wouldn’t? Anyway, Flintstones vitamins were actually a highlight of our day and just mentioning them to my kids now gets them excited. I don’t know if the Vitamin C boosted ones are going to protect you from the germs of a kindergarten classroom, but I know they’ll help. And I know your kids will like them. And I know you will too.
Make your own “Keep Everybody Healthy” monster
This just seems like a fun idea. Use construction paper, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, markers, glitter, anything you can find in your craft drawer, and have your kids create either a cute monster to keep health in, or a scary monster to keep germs out.
Hang your creation by the front door and let everyone give it a high five as they head out for the day. Hey, it’s worth a shot.
Get vegetables into your kids and into yourself. Some of us are lucky enough to have kids who readily eat vegetables all day long. For others it’s a matter of getting vegetables into other kinds of food your kid already likes. We’re a blend of the two. One of our kids will eat hummus and carrots from the time she gets up to the time she goes to bed.
Really, I’m writing this as a good idea because I love carrot muffins. I could eat them forever and they ‘re a way to get vegetables into your kids by giving them something really tasty.
If all else fails, have blankets and hugs ready
There is no fail safe way to avoid having bugs brought home from school and work. In fact, it’s pretty much a guarantee that you will have some sick time with kids during the fall and winter months. So, have warm blankets ready to snuggle with your kids. Always have Harry Potter books ready to pick off your shelf and read on a sick day. And make yourself a good “For A Sick Day” playlist on Netflix. And, have your Advil ready to keep that fever down!
Even though there are bugs being passed around this time of year, don’t forget to have fun. Fall is one of our favourite times of year, illnesses or not. So while you’re feeling well, pick some apples, jump in some hay bales, drink some apple cider and enjoy everything the season has to offer!
For more ways to get ready for cold & flu season, click here!
Mike is an Ottawa born-and-raised husband to one and father to two girls who are changing the world as you read this. He’s mildly obsessed with making sure his daughters never learn to colour inside the lines and with making sure they know they’re both one-of-a-kind. His mission is to show the world that dads and daughters don’t need to have a protector/protected relationship and that both dad and daughter are stronger when they learn from one another.