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How to Keep Your Kids Healthy at School

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Updated February 26, 2014

When the kids are in school, health should be one of your top priorities. Of course, learning is important, but lots of children in one place means lots of germs. Following these tips will help your kids stay healthy and will make school health a top priority for your family.

1. Teach Your Kids to Wash Their Hands

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Washing hands is the best way to stay healthy both in school and out. Children can learn to wash their hands at a very young age, and parents can even wash their babies' hands before they can do it themselves.

2. Stock up on Tissues

Bringing tissues to school is usually one of those school supplies on everyone's list, at least in elementary school. Make sure you have them at home too, so you are prepared for all those sniffles and sneezes that are bound to come while your kids are in school.

3. Update Their Vaccines

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It is so important to make sure your kids' vaccinations are up to date each year. Vaccines help protect not only your child but also the other kids around them from lots of really serious illnesses. Even though we haven't seen some of these diseases in decades, if we stop vaccinating our kids, they will come back.

4. Get Your Hand Sanitizer Ready

Kids get messy, there is no doubt about it. Unfortunately, there is not always a sink handy to wash their hands every time they touch a toy or dirty desk. When their hands aren't visibly soiled and soap and water just aren't available, instant hand sanitizer works great. It's easy to use and comes in a whole variety of sizes. Just remember, if you have young children, they should be supervised when using the sanitizer and must keep rubbing their hands until they are completely dry.

5. Pack Healthy Lunches

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There is an obesity epidemic in the United States today, and it's even hitting our kids. With unhealthy lunches in the school cafeterias and little or no recess, it is no wonder kids are gaining weight. Teaching healthy habits at home, though, and making sure you either pack healthy lunches or teach your kids which foods to buy in the cafeteria, will go a long way to improving your child's health at school.

6. Encourage Physical Activity

Even if your child does not have recess or an opportunity to get exercise at school, you can still make sure they get it at home. Instead of allowing video or computer games when they get home, encourage them to go outside and run around or participate in some sort of sports. Physical activity is just as important to your child's health and development as mental activity.

7. Teach Your Kids Good Habits

From a young age, teach your children to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, which should be in to the elbow or a tissue, not the hands. These things can be hard for young kids to remember, but reminders when you are with them and setting a good example will help them get in the habit.

8. Keep Them Home When They Are Sick

Photo: E Dygas / Getty Images
When your child has a fever, bad cough or you can tell he just doesn't feel well, it's best to keep him home from school. Keeping him home will help him recover faster and will also prevent the illness from spreading to the rest of his classmates.
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