During the school year, there is one thing that is certain – kids will be exposed to a number of germs that are sure to make them sick from time to time. Whether they drink out of a water fountain after a friend who’s not feeling well, or grab a doorknob that has been touched by someone with the sniffles, it’s not difficult for kids to get sick.

Did you know that kids can catch a cold, or have a case of the flu, an average of eight to 12 times every school year? With stats like this, it may seem inevitable for your kiddo to catch a bug. However, here are some tips that can help them fight off germs during the day:

  • Keep your hands cleanUnclean hands are a breeding ground for germs. Educate your child on the importance of washing their hands every time they use the restroom, before they eat or after they come indoors from playing. A general rule of thumb when they wash their hands is to use soap and warm water and scrub their hands together for 30 seconds, or to the tune of the “Happy birthday” song.
  • …And out of your face. Knowing that the hands hold a number of germs at any given time, it’s best that they keep their hands out of their face, including their eyes and mouth.
  • Cough (or sneeze) in the crease. Kids are often told to cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough. Their first instinct? To use their hands. However, they should be reminded to cover their sneeze or cough with their sleeve or in the crease of their elbow.
  • Don’t share utensils. Even though your child may be best friends with their classmate, let them know that it’s best to not share eating utensils like straws and silverware. Sharing isn’t always caring!
  • Stay home. This one is for the grown-ups – if you know that your child isn’t feeling well, help them avoid spreading germs and keep them at home. Their teachers (and friends’ parents) will thank you for it!