This post was sponsored by Lysol; however, as always, all opinions are my own.

I’ve had to get creative with teaching my son new habits to help protect him from illness-causing germs and preventable illnesses this winter. He’s gotten the hang of washing his hands and wearing a mask, but I am often the reminder. This year, I know I’m not the only one looking to keep our children healthy this winter.

Right now, we are in some crazy times with flu season and COVID-19 spreading. On their own, kids don’t always understand how to protect themselves and stay healthy during an outbreak. We’ve had a few age-appropriate talks about healthy habits, but the new Lysol Germ-Cast™ app has been a great tool to help me visually show him what is going on in our town specifically.

Have you ever tried to keep a child’s hands out of their face? Or their hands out of anyone else’s face, for that matter? If you’ve ever tried to keep your child from not following healthy habits during a viral outbreak — I feel you! It’s not easy! Let’s keep your child healthy this season.

It’s nearly impossible; yet with flu season still alive and COVID-19 looming in our state, I’m making an effort. Between all of the media updates and warnings at work I know I HAVE to do something – even if it’s just to get my son in the habit of staying conscious of his hands, washing more often and being careful. I still have to go on about my normal schedule, I’m just paying a little more attention to what’s going on.

The best way to help protect your family during an outbreak is to avoid being exposed to illness-causing germs.

keeping your child healthy

How to help protect your children and keep your child healthy:

Wash their hands with soap and water – OFTEN!

It’s important to wash hands for at least 20 seconds. I like to have my son sing a song to distract him; it helps him to know how long he has to scrub up for. “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” works great and doesn’t get easily stuck in my head.

If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to keep your child healthy and clean. This is great for when we’re out and one of the boys sneezes or coughs — or touches something sketchy.

It’s easier than constantly running to the bathroom; however, it’s not a substitute for soap and water — just a temporary quick fix.

Keep germs at bay by keeping others outside your household at bay. 

Saying things like, “we’re planning to stay home this weekend,” or “thanks for the offer, but we’re not available” is all you need to say — no further explanation necessary given the times we are living in. Also, if you or your child is sick or not feeling well, stay home to keep others protected as well. Remember to wear masks in public settings and maintain 6-feet of physical distance from others whenever possible. 

Clean and disinfect household objects.

I try to wash the boys’ toys and bath items once every few months, but this is a great reminder to just do it again now. Make sure to take a moment to review the instructions on how to properly use disinfectants first. Spraying toys and bath items down with some disinfectant and giving them a wipe down doesn’t take long once you’re in a rhythm. I usually put on a playlist and have my husband take the boys outside for a while so I can have some uninterrupted cleaning time. 

Teach your children to avoid touching their face 

This is the hardest part of protecting children from illness-causing germs in my opinion. Kids never remember anything we tell them. So, when I catch them touching or reaching for their face, I just gently move their hands. It’s not 100% fail proof, but now that I’m on alert, it’s happening less and less. I can’t get mad at my 3-year-old for not remembering; I just do the best I can.

Stock up on dollar-store crafts and educational activities.

Schools might be closed for a period of time to ensure that they are protecting your child from COVID-19. I like to have things on hand to make sure that the boys stay busy; I can pull out a few things to keep them interested, then we’ll read, take a break, color, make a craft, etc. when they are home with me.

If your children are old enough, explain what’s happening and why people are concerned.

You don’t have to scare them, but healthy habits and precautionary measures are of utmost importance — and really, it’s a life lesson they need to learn. Using the Lysol Germ-Cast™ app is a free way to stay up to date on daily, county-level flu and COVID-19 incidence levels. This app allows parents to make more informed decisions based on accurate and current data. It also offers a three-week flu forecast, illness-prevention information and product tips from Lysol. You can download the free app in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Remove clothing once you get home if you’ve been in large public settings and leave shoes and coats by the door.

Limiting exposure to the rest of the house and avoiding any contaminated clothing is another way to protect your family from germs this season and beyond.

This last tip is for the parents – be careful which sources you pay attention to and don’t obsess over the news.

We all have to stay informed on how COVID-19 and the flu are progressing, but there can be a lot of misinformation. We need to live our lives, while taking precautions and being smart. Just double check the source before you believe or share what you see. I like to check with the CDC and my local news station – this way I know what’s happening in my own area. Doing this and using the Lysol Germ-Cast™ app makes me feel confident I am prepared to protect my family. You too can keep your child healthy this winter with these tips.

If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love these!

I admit,  I used to have helicopter mom tendencies . how I overcame them.

6 Ways to Survive a Summer Pregnancy