Unfortunately, I know I am not alone on this one. My son, age 3, started attending preschool this fall. He has been continuously sick since day one. So, what do you do when your child is constantly getting sick at school?…. No, really, can someone please tell me?
I have been home with my kids since my son was born, which has been such a blessing. Knock on wood, my kids are very healthy. No one could have, or even tried, to prepare me for the preschool germs we were about to be exposed to.
Without exaggeration, my son has been sick since the first day of school. He was home sick on his second day. He only goes twice a week, three hours at a time, and yet somehow that is enough time to contract every illness a preschooler can spread. So far this school year, he has missed at least a quarter of his days.
Nearly everything he’s contracted so far has been viral. Twice already, the virus and cold has morphed into an ear infection, but otherwise every illness has been a viral infection that needs to run its course. That means runny noses, sore throats, and raspy coughs for weeks on end. We have also landed ourselves in the Emergency Room twice due to a scary high fever. Once again, it was viral, so we were able to rule out pneumonia, the flu, strep throat, and the like.
So, what do you do when your child keeps getting sick at school? It is so hard to not get frustrated. I know this is quite common for children in their first year of preschool or daycare. This is just the nature of the environment. However, that doesn’t make watching your child get sick over and over again any easier.
- Keep them clean. I stress to my son the importance of washing his hands, and we do it often. A nurse in the Emergency Room even demonstrated the best way for him to wash – roll your hands to cover the thumbs, do not just rub back and forth. We also use hand sanitizer, but hand washing is better.
- Mind your manners. It’s also very important for children to learn the proper way to cough and sneeze. It has taken ages and ages for him to catch on, but he now coughs and sneezes into his elbow ALMOST all of the time.
- Change clothes. This might be overkill, but I have my son change out of his school clothes and put on clean clothes when we get home. Does it make a difference? I don’t know, but it makes me feel better.
- Eat a balanced diet. While it’s no easy feat for a picky three year old, I exert a lot of energy to get a healthy, balanced diet into my son. Healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, vitamins, protein, and LOTS of water are all key to help his body run as well as it can.
- Rest, rest, rest. I have always subscribed to the school of thought that early bedtimes are essential. The human body resets, grows, and heals as it rests, so it’s quite important that my son gets as much sleep as possible. Luckily, he still takes a good daily nap, but even if he didn’t I would be pushing a designated rest time.
And, if you can’t avoid the preschool germs, there’s always wine. (For us parents. Just saying.)