Why is your kid always sick? Seriously. That question sounds so loaded to me. I get super defensive instantly, cue mom guilt. Because even though I know the answer is school germs, I still feel helpless and like I should be doing something more to keep her well.
For years I’ve heard about school germs. Everybody has. And when the principal or teacher says at the beginning of the year that you shouldn’t panic and take your kid out of school because they get sick more often, you almost roll your eyes because it can’t be so bad that you would consider that… It can be. “Why is your kid always sick” – because school germs!
I give her Zinplex and Creche Guard, she eats well with lots of fruit and veggies, she is crazy active and is always dressed weather appropriately and gets lots of fresh air. She is even still breastfeeding for heaven’s sake! It’s not because I’m a bad parent dammit!
The bugs that have done the rounds in the past three months have been hectic; days in bed kind of hectic. The entire class, school, family, extended family kind of hectic. The flu that morphs into a tummy bug and then back into random fevers and flu. School germs are no laughing matter.
Last term, Charly went to school 3 mornings a week and she was sick every week from the Wednesday til the Sunday. Back at school the Monday and sick again the Wednesday night. The upcoming winter terms she is meant to attend 5 mornings a week, we’ll see how that pans out.
Of course, she always very generously shares all her bugs and germs with me. Which means, why is your kid always sick, is followed by the overly concerned “why are you always sick”? Is it really only me that hears “Not only are you unable to keep your child healthy, but you have such a weak constitution that you are always ill too”? And you know that everybody is shaking their heads when you have to cancel on yet another appointment or coffee date or birthday party. I’ve gone from being the most reliable person ever to being perceived as “flakey”.
When I look around online or chat to people, their kids also always seem to be sick. So who are these people who simply can’t understand why your family always seems to be down with the plague?? It must be true that kids’ resistance apparently comes to the party around 5 years old (yes, a looooong wait yet); because a lot of those people have older kids. Or maybe the school germs start to lose their oomph.
Here are 5 tips to try head off the nasty school germs –
- Healthy eating : Nobody knows better than I how impossible it can be to get your child to eat healthy balanced meals. You may need to get creative (some great ideas here), but however you do it, they need the vitamins and minerals from all the food groups to be able to grow properly, learn properly and keep their immune system strong.
- Immune boosters : Zinplex and Creche Guard seem to be the “go to” suggestions from teachers, GPs and pediatricians. “As well as”, not “instead of” vegetables and fruit!!
- Hand washing : Try turn your child into a compulsive hand-washer. Ok, maybe not the unhealthy obsession implied by compulsive; but teach them how important it is to wash their hands after playing or art or the toilet and always before eating.
- Discourage pacifiers / dummies and bottles at school : Little kids suffer FOMO (fear of missing out) in the worst way; they always want what another child has. Add to that their natural inclination to put every single thing they come across into their mouth, and all you need is one little outbreak monkey and the whole class gets ill. Although the very best teachers will rinse off a dummy or bottle they find lying on the floor, you know how sneaky toddlers can be, and rinsing isn’t sterilising anyway. Save yourself the risk and teach bubbs to use a cup and comfort themselves another way.
- School sick policy : Find out what it is and how strictly it is enforced to find out how severe the chance of your child’s exposure is. Also – follow the rules!! Don’t send your child to school sick and then complain when he is sick again in a month’s time; there’s a huge possibility that is YOUR child’s germs working its way through the class and back to your little outbreak monkey again.
I promise not to be the eye-rolling head shaking mom and friend when you and your brood are suffering of plague. I will send you (online germ free) hugs and support and maybe even have Umatie meals delivered for your kids while you recover.
Do you have any additional advice on how to keep my child from “always” being sick? All suggestions welcome!!
Sending all the love x