Let’s face it: Your toddler will catch a cold this winter. It’s inevitable. Each child averages eight to ten colds a year; no matter how hard you try to prevent it, it will happen. Many common viruses are airborne, if your child is within about 4 to 6 feet from someone who is sick they can easily catch the bug. It’s also important to realize that viruses are contagious before they develop symptoms. We’re not trying to scare you with this post, but to help you with some tips for helping your toddler this winter.
So what can you do?
Make it a habit for your child to wash their hands. Don’t worry about using anti-bacterial soaps, any soap will remove germs! Wash those hands after he uses the toilet, before meals and snacks, as well as when he comes home from daycare, the playground, or a friend’s house. Make sure your child’s daycare is vigilant about hand washing as well!
Teach your child to “catch” her cough and sneeze in the crook of her arm or use a tissue. When she touches her eyes or nose, she is leaving germs on the mucous membranes and they absorb into the bloodstream. It may be difficult or take time to get your child to remember but using a tissue or even a clean sleeve can help save her eyes and nose!
Keep your child up to date on vaccinations and flu shots. These vaccinations can protect your toddler from a number of viruses and bacteria. As well as boosting his immunity naturally. Make sure your child gets a variety of healthy foods. Give your toddler vitamin chews approved by their doctor. Also make sure your child gets enough sleep and gets lots of physical activity every day.
Your child is bound to get sick this winter, so what should you do when she does?
As much as your child might fight this, saline nose drops work. They help thin and clear the nasal mucus and relieve congestion. This could start a battle but if your child allows it they will feel much better after the drops are in.
Make sure your child gets enough rest. Even if he doesn’t want to take a nap, if you find quiet activities to do for him like reading or watching a video or playing puppets. The normal amount of sleep needed for younger children is 10 to 13 hours. If your child is sick he will need more than that to help overcome the cold.
Make the humidifier your new best friend. They make cute humidifiers that look like animals that will have your child in awe. The humidifier helps during the night and when your child naps to moisten the air and thin your toddler’s mucous secretions. This will help her calm the cough and relieve congestion that she may be feeling.
Drink up, drink up, and drink up! Children lose body fluids quickly when they are sick. Water, juice, an electrolyte solution or milk can help replenish the lost fluids. If your child has a hard time downing a tall glass, try giving them an orange or watermelon bites to get in the extra juice. Even a frozen juice pop is better than nothing!
Keep your child quarantined from any activities. While your child could be contagious before any symptoms, it is better to keep them home and away from others until they are 24-hours free of fevers, vomiting, or any other symptoms. After they have no symptoms make sure to wash clothing and bedding and disinfect all surfaces your child was around.
And finally, make some snuggle time! Your child is feeling under the weather and is in desperate need for some extra TLC. Making time to snuggle can help your toddler feel better quicker!
While you may not be able to protect your child from catching a cold, you can take some steps to prevent more colds and to keep them healthy all winter long!