Calling all parents, guardians, and caregivers… This one’s for you! There’s one thing you all have in common regarding caring for your children. You all dread cold and flu season. You’re probably wondering if there are ways to prevent cold and flu for your kids. 

Thankfully, there are! And you’re about to learn some of those best tips! Here are 10 tips proven to help prevent cold and flu from hitting your household. So grab a pen and paper and get ready to take some notes!

10 Ways To Prevent Cold and Flu For Your Kids

If you’ve ever suffered from a common cold or any strain of the flu, you know how miserable it can make you feel. The last thing you want is for your children to catch a cold or flu and feel that misery. 

With millions of children becoming sick from one of these common illnesses, it’s likely your children could also. There are, however, measures you can take to help prevent this possibility from becoming a reality in your household. 

1) Diet. Exercise. Sleep.

One of the best ways to prevent your children from catching a cold or the flu is by ensuring they eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Here’s a closer look… 

Diet – Focus on feeding your kids foods that are high in nutrients. This can be as simple as ensuring they get plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables on their plates regularly. Also give them adequate amounts of protein from milk, legumes, eggs, (lean) meats, and fish. You’ll also want to avoid processed and sugary foods as much as possible. 

Exercise – It’s been proven that when children receive enough regular (moderate) exercise, it will boost their immune system. This can occur inside or outside (hello vitamin D). Just get them moving! The healthier your child’s immune system, the less likely they are to contract a cold or flu!

Sleep – Generally, your child will require anywhere between 9 – 14 hours of sleep per night (according to their age). A sleep-deprived child will have a weaker immune system, making them more susceptible to becoming sick. To learn more about healthy sleep for your child, check out our other blog articles!

2) Wash Your Hands

There’s a reason you were told to wash your hands so often as a child. That’s because clean hands are more germ-free than dirty hands. 

Simply using soap and water can drastically reduce your child’s chances of contracting an illness that is spreading. This is especially important when your child goes to daycare or school. 

If you’re thinking “My child will not want to wash their hands”, there are ways that you can make this a more enjoyable practice for them. (For example, teach them to sing a song while washing their hands!) 

Teach your child to wash their hands for about 20 seconds and this will serve as their first line of defense against all the colds and flu viruses that they’ll come into contact with. 

3) Get Vaccinated

If your child is 6 months old or older, they are eligible to receive the flu vaccine. As for all you parents/caregivers, you’ll want to be vaccinated each year as well to help prevent yourself from becoming sick and potentially spreading it to your child. 

What does a flu vaccine do, you ask? It will not necessarily prevent your child from catching the flu altogether, but it will decrease their chances of catching it. (Also, it will make their symptoms less severe if they do catch the flu.)

If you’re the caregiver of a baby under 6 months old, you will certainly want to get vaccinated yourself, to decrease the likelihood that your baby will catch the flu. 

4) Avoid Sharing

It’s probably been drilled into your brain from an early age (and you’ve probably already started to drill it into your child’s head as well)… “Sharing is caring.”

However, during the season when the common cold and flu viruses are running rampant, it’s probably best to NOT drill this concept into your child’s head. Here’s why… 

Think about how your young child plays. Almost every toy goes straight into their mouth, right? All that baby slobber is full of germs that could easily spread to anyone who later touches those toys. (This is especially more important in daycares and schools that are full of children who could quickly spread these illnesses around.)

As for older children, this rule still applies. While they may not be drooling on everything, a simple sneeze or cough can spread germs just the same. 

You’ll also want to teach your children that sharing their food/drinks can be just as risky during cold and flu season. 

5) Isolate When Needed

As a parent, you likely know when it’s best to keep your child (or yourself) home due to an illness. (If you’re unsure, you should always contact your child’s pediatrician for advice.)

Generally, you’ll know that it’s best for your child to stay home if they seem too sick to participate in normal day-to-day activities or if the amount of care they require is too much for their teachers/caregivers to provide in their school/daycare settings. 

Sure, by the time you’d need to keep your child or yourself home from school or work, you’ve already caught the illness. However, this is the best way to avoid continuing to spread whatever illness your household has caught. 

6) Cover Nose & Mouth

Here’s another rule you were probably taught as a young child… covering your nose and mouth whenever you cough or sneeze. 

As a parent, you’re probably already aware of how difficult of a rule this is for your child to follow. However, it’s still vital to do your best to ensure that your child is always coughing and sneezing into the inside of their elbow, inside of their shirt, or into clean tissue. 

If your child is using a tissue, you’ll also want to teach them to throw it away immediately after using it and then to follow up by washing their hands. 

The best way to teach these practices to your child is by doing them yourself, as children so often learn by observation. (Again, you can make this a fun practice for your child by turning it into a game or song!) These small practices are a great way to prevent cold and flu for your kids. 

7) Take Anti-Viral Medications

While medications won’t necessarily prevent your child from catching a cold or flu virus, they can drastically decrease the severity of symptoms they could experience. (Always check with your child’s pediatrician to ensure that a medication is safe for your child to take.)

Generally, anti-viral medications will work best when started within 2 days of first becoming ill. 

Anti-viral medications, along with medications to treat cold symptoms, can go a long way in the prevention of spreading germs caused by these illnesses. 

8) Clean All Surfaces

The majority of studies have shown that the flu virus can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours. 

What does that mean, you wonder? That means that if someone who is carrying the flu touches a countertop, a fridge handle, a light switch, a car door handle, a handrail, an elevator, a pen, a doorknob, a toy, a cell phone or tablet, a table, a chair, etc., that surface is likely infected with those flu germs. 

So the second you or your child touches an infected surface, you’ve most likely contracted the virus as well. (Kind of makes you want to go wash your hands again, huh?)

9) Play Outside

Have you ever heard the expression “Dirt never hurt”? Well, this is true. If you’re one of those parents who freaks out at the first spec of dirt on your child, rest assured knowing that there’s no need to worry! 

When your child plays outside and gets a little dirty, they’re directly boosting their immune system!

By playing outside and being exposed to dirt, your child is getting exposed to germs that teach their immune system to fight off infectious organisms. (So let them play and just have the tub ready for them when they’re done!)

10) Boost Immune System

Another way to prevent cold and flu for your kids is by boosting their immune systems naturally. You’ve already learned to let them get dirty while playing outside and to manage their diet/exercise/sleep, but there are other ways to boost their immune system too!

Managing your child’s stress levels is a great way to boost their immune system. You can also add elderberries to their diet, as they are a great source of antioxidants and vitamins.

Final Thoughts

Here’s a quick refresher for your reference: 

  1. Diet. Exercise. Sleep. 
  2. Wash Your Hands
  3. Get Vaccinated
  4. Avoid Sharing
  5. Isolate When Needed
  6. Cover Nose & Mouth
  7. Take Anti-Viral Medications
  8. Clean All Surfaces
  9. Play Outside
  10. Boost Immune System

Catching a cold is just a part of life. Unfortunately, your child will most likely catch a flu virus at some point in their life, as well. But by putting these 10 tips to the test, your child will be a lot less likely to become sick from a cold or flu virus. 

If you found these tips to be helpful, don’t forget to check out our other blogs as well!

10 Simple Ways to Get Your Baby to Sleep Better Tonight

These tips are simple, easy to implement, and created to help your baby slowly step into a healthy, secure relationship with sleep!

Congrats! Check your email for your free guide!