Practical Parenting Ideas: 5 Tips for Preventing Illness in Cold & Flu Season

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

5 Tips for Preventing Illness in Cold & Flu Season

I have to admit that I'm somewhat of a germ-a-phobic, especially during the cold and flu season. I'm always dispensing sanitizer and encouraging the kids to eat healthy and take their alternaVites supplements. While I can't say my kids never get sick, I know that helping them practice good habits to ward off germs will go a long way with staying healthy.


Regular exercise is proven to keep you from getting sick by stimulating the immune cells that target infection. By exercising at least 30 minutes a day you're much less likely to get sick according to this study. Just be sure to dress appropriately for the weather and pay attention to your body's cues to avoid overdoing it, which may increase the risk of illness due to excess stress of your body's systems. For more insight on staying active, read 10 Easy Ways to Be More Active as a Family.


USDA MyPlate teaches the five food groups and portion sizes that make up a healthy diet. Following these guidelines, starting at a young age, can build a foundation for a lifetime of health and wellness. One way we encourage my kids to eat healthy is keeping a drawer in the fridge stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables. I find when healthy food is just as easy to grab as the processed, pre-packaged varieties  that we're more likely to make smart choices. I like these MyPlate coloring page and other MyPlate activity printables for educating the kids on eating a well-balanced diet. I also love Super Healthy Kids plates that give space for each food group, including Kids MyPlate Section Plate and MyPlate Flat Plate (aff links).


With how many germs are passed by touch, helping the kids develop good hand washing habits is an important defense against germs. I encourage my kids to sing a song (The ABC's, Happy Birthday, or nursery rhymes work great) while they wash their hands to ensure they get a good lather to scrub away germs. In addition to hand washing and bathing regularly we keep sanitizer handy wherever we go in the car, diaper bag, and kids' backpacks. We routinely sanitize items around the home that are touched often, including light switches, faucet handles, door knobs, and electronics (especially if a family member has been sick). This free How to Wash Your Hands printable from Teachers Pay Teachers is a great learning activity to remind kids how to effectively wash their hands.


This one can be tricky for us because my kids fight going to bed sometimes, but I've found that it helps to talk with them about why they need sleep. They've learned how they feel the day after they didn't sleep as well and that they'll have more energy and feel better on a good nights sleep. Helping them realize the importance of sleep on their own has been effective for us, along with a nighttime routine to unwind before bed. For as long as they need it, naps are also important for babies and toddlers. This chart is a good guideline for how much sleep is needed from infancy to adulthood.


As much as I'd like for my kids to eat a healthy diet consisting of a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy, they're kids. Some days they eat better than others and some foods they refuse to eat again and again no matter how many times I've offered. I feel much better knowing they are getting the vitamins and minerals they need to be healthy and strong when they take their alternaVites Kids. I never have to trick my kids into taking alternaVites because they love the flavors and pixie-stick texture. As a conscientious parent I appreciate that they contain no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or sweeteners. 

My kids were excited to try the orange berry flavor alternaVites Vitamin C supplementsIt was no surprise to me that they loved it like they do the multivitamins! Vitamin C builds their immune systems, which is an even greater protection during cold and flu season. alternaVites do not have any major food allergens, and are gluten free and certified kosher. From a parent's standpoint, what could be safer than that?! alternaVites Kids are intended as dietary supplements for children ages 4 and up to take once a day or as directed by a health care professional. They can be ordered online at and several retail and health food stores locally. Disclosure: I received free samples of alternaVites, along with promotional items in exchange for this post. All opinions are honest and my own.

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