When your kid starts day care, they’ll begin bringing home a lot of crap. Your fridge will be lousy with art made of handprints. You’ll have random, terribly painted, crusty clay blobs on every knick-knack shelf. And there will be construction paper glued to construction paper everywhere. But, the worst crap your kid will bring home is the extraordinary amount of illnesses that will make them feverish, cough-laden, and vomity. Maybe that crusty clay blob isn’t so terrible after all.
It turns out that while disgusting day care illnesses come fast and furious, they actually might make your kid stronger. It’s time for a little shift in perspective.
Sick (For) Days
It’s possible that up until day care, your fairly isolated and parent-coddled kid was rarely sick. That’s because anything they picked up likely came from you. And, face it, your hand-washing game is on point. You’re essentially Draymond Green-ing the crap out of any germs that want to get into the paint. Golden.
This is going to change. Basically, your kid is as bad at defending germs as Amare Stoudemire is at defending … well … anything. So there’s your first Knick in the germ armor. Add that to the fact that they are surrounded by equally poor germ defenders and you have a bad scene. But how bad?
It’s completely normal for kids to get 6-to-8 upper respiratory infections and 2-to-3 gastrointestinal infections a year. So, you might want to give your boss a heads up now. You’re not totally helpless against the onslaught, though.
Day care Defense
No, you are not going to buy your kid a mini-hazmat suit and matching lunchbox. You are, however, going to employ some super-easy techniques that may reduce that sickness count to 4-to-6 upper respiratory infections and 1-to-2 gastrointestinal infections a year.
There’s a ton of foods your kid digs that are also natural immune boosters. This grub is packed with phytonutrients. They include things like blueberries, bell peppers, and mangos. Also pack them with foods containing omega-3s. And stay away from the unnaturally sweetened goodies which can drag an immune system down.
Hand To Mouth
Hand washing is key. The sooner you can make it a habit the better. Make sure your kid washes hands the second they come home. Make sure they are doing it at strategic times like pre-meals and post-poops as well. And encourage them to not touch their face. This one is super hard considering their nose holes are so fun to explore.
It’s been shown that a little daily exercise can decrease flu episodes over the year by up to 50 percent. This will also work for you as you get out and chase them around in the fresh air. It’s like the old saying goes: The family that plays together will be less likely to puke in the toilet together.
Just do it. Please? It’s super important. Not just for your kid, but for everyone’s.
The Bright Side
Yeah, it’s going to suck having a toddler that seems to be sick all the time. But, there is some good news about all this day care crap. One Canadian study followed kid’s illnesses through day care and into the elementary grades. They found that those who entered day care before 2-and-a-half, who were exposed to all the nasties, experienced less sickness than their peers by grade 2 (or, as American’s call it, second grade).
Essentially, it appears they just got all that crap out of the way early. Which is what you’ll do with the arts and crafts they bring home. Except for that lollipop picture frame you got for Father’s Day. That’s pretty dope.