Winter is coming! Tralala. Crisp winter afternoons, snuggly jumpers and pumpkin lattes, blah blah. What I’m actually thinking about is what could be arriving along with it. Not Christmas, but the array of winter bugs…
Call me a killjoy, but most parents with school-age children will have experienced a bug or virus that comes home with your child from school one day. It makes itself at home and before you know it, everyone’s feeling like the dog’s dinner.
But as unpleasant as it can be at the time, it’s an unavoidable part of family life. Catching a cold or bugs every now and again does help to develop your child’s immune system. Although, if you catch an illness quickly enough, you may have a chance to stop it developing into something worse or for lasting even longer.
To help you battle those dreaded winter bugs, I’m going to share some of my top tips for keeping your family healthy this winter.
If your body is working harder than usual to keep itself warm, it may have less energy to fight illness. So what are the best ways to stay warm?
Wrap up well when it’s cold outside by layering. Coats, hats and gloves that protect you from the elements will also help to protect you against illness by keeping you warm.
If you or your kids are cold at night when going to bed, try warming the bed up with a hot water bottle first.
If you’ve got the heating on at home, try keeping it between 17-23 degrees. Men are often more comfortable than women at lower temperatures, so if you’re cold but your husband or the boys in the house are warm, it could all be down to biology!
If you’re not sure how to dress your baby or toddler for the cold, check out our article here.
I know it’s not always easy to convince children to eat what’s good for them, but getting the right vitamins and minerals can keep your kids healthy this winter.
Nutritious soups, plenty of vegetables in all different colours, whole grain carbs and fat like nuts seeds and fish. If you or your family don’t eat meat, make sure you’re getting all of the nutrition you need from other sources.
There are vitamin supplements suitable for children that you can speak to your GP or pharmacist about.
Get enough sleep
Not getting enough sleep can make us more prone to illness at any time of year. To help the kids relax before bed, we bath the kids before bed and get them into some cosy PJ’s. We also don’t let them look at any screens for at least a couple of hours.
Make the most of the dark nights at this time of year and if you can, head to bed a little earlier than usual. Since our kids can’t tell the time yet, they’ve no idea they’re heading to bed half an hour earlier in winter!
Staying hydrated can help your body ward off and fight illness. Try to drink plenty of water and other hydrating drinks with no added sugar.
Don’t give up exercise
When it’s cold it can be all too tempting to stay indoors and hide under our layers! But exercising can help keep our bodies and minds healthy. As long as you’re dressed properly, getting outdoors for a walk with the kids can be really beneficial for your health. If your children have classes for sports, dancing and anything that keeps them running around, encourage them. Likewise, keep going to any classes you attend.
Wash germs away
In winter, it’s more important than ever to develop good handwashing habits. Washing your hand’s help to prevent illness from travelling between people. Not just after you’ve been to the bathroom, but after you’ve been out of the house and before mealtimes. If you’re out and about a lot, consider taking a little bottle of hand sanitiser with you.
Make sure your children wash their hands regularly throughout the day too. If you have a tendency to get dry skin, carry a small tube of hand cream with you to rub in after washing.
This NHS video is great for showing your children how to wash their hands properly. Why not watch it together and practice next time they wash their hands?
If your child is teething, our mini-matchstick monkey teether has Biocote® Antimicrobial technology which makes it hygienically clean and reduces the potential of cross-contamination. They’re perfect for very young babies or when you’re out and about!