We’ve all been there, right? Our toddler starts coughing and sneezing and we’re suddenly clamping our mouths shut to ward off wandering germs and silently counting the days until we start sputtering too.
While there’s no sure-fire way to keep yourself healthy when your littlies are down with various bugs, there are a few things you can do to stay as feel-good as possible – against the odds!
Often when we are caring for little people we forget to put our own needs, hygiene (!) and health on the list too. Here’s a little cheat sheet of reminders that’ll help set you in good stead.
1. Focus on nourishing food
Making excellent choices when you snack or have a meal will set you in good stead in the health stakes. While nutritious food won’t stop you getting sick altogether – bugs are pesky! – it can help you feel stronger and give you more energy. You’ll be in prime fighting condition if some sniffles come knocking.
2. Immunity boosting
Whether this means heading to the doctor for a flu shot or visiting your naturopath to discuss how you’re feeling and what you might do to maintain optimal health, make some plans to be forearmed. While this doesn’t always ward off the bugs, at least you can be sure you did all you can as you take yet another day off work!
Hahahahaha! I know! What a joke. It’s impossible to rest when littlies are about, but if you can call on someone to take your kiddo for a wee while so that you can have a lie down – before or just when you start to feel peaky – it can pay dividends. Asking for help is an important part of being a good parent, and you could swap naps with another busy mum if friends or family aren’t on hand.
4. Don’t spray it
Be aware of those little sneezes in your vicinity – and teach your children to cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough – and then to wash their hands. It’s a simple one, but if they’re constantly sneezing all over you how are you going to avoid the sniffles too? (Answer – you’re not!) Same goes for washing their hands before eating and snacking – and around toilet-ing.
5. Be germ smart
Wash. YOUR. Hands. Just regular soap and water does the job perfectly. Basic hygiene can help to stop the spread of bacteria and keep you (and your children) from getting sick – especially if you’re handling snotty little people or tissues/clothing/bedding that may be germ-y. Or wiping little bottoms. The same goes for toys that your sick child might pop in their mouth – handle them only to give them a nice clean with soap and water (and your hands, too! Again!)
6. Beware surface dwellers
Bugs can survive on surfaces like high-chair trays, fridge doors and counter tops so make sure that you clean surfaces they’ve been exposed to thoroughly. Then hopefully you won’t pick up anything that’s been quietly brewing while you unsuspectingly go about your usual business. Think about those areas you are sharing with your sick child and keep them spick and span.
7. Stop sharing and smooch carefully
If your sick child wants to stick their teething toy in your mouth, think of a better game! Same goes for those delightful sloppy kisses from your ill toddler. As lovely as they are, they’re not going to help you avoid getting sick. The same goes for any medication syringes or measuring cups or the like. No share and share alike.
8. Hot wash it
Use hot water to do your child’s laundry and avoid touching your nose and mouth when you do. Again, wash your hands after handling their clothing or bedding.
If your kids are sick, be sure to keep them away from other families. It’s the best way to stop sick days in their tracks. Be responsible and forget the old “soldier on” adage, no matter how close to your housebound wits end your are.
10. Make the kitchen out of bounds
Avoid bugs being transferred to food you are cooking and eating by keeping the kids out of the kitchen altogether. Then you just need to make sure you wash your hands throughly before cooking and you’ll cut down the risk of picking up a stray bacteria your ill child’s left on the kitchen table earlier.
May your days be as healthy and snot-free as possible!