12 Ideas to Keep Kids from Getting Sick

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Disclaimer : this post is NOT about preventing, treating or specifically combatting the Covid-19 virus or any variant. Please adhere to all local, state, and national CDC recommendations for health as it pertains to your family. This post was simply written to provide some general tips & tricks to help kids & their wellbeing.

I’m probably jinxing myself as I type this, but I have five kids and they haven’t had a sick day in the last 3 years. My kids have amazing immune systems and we started practices when they were babies to encourage this. I’m not a medical professional. I’m not a seller of products. But I am a mom who cannot afford to have sickness passed around our house with kids toppling like dominoes. So here’s a few reasons why (I believe) I rarely have sick kids:

  1. A little dirt never hurt
    Our kids play outside all. the. time. I grew up on 10+ acres (with a lake) and my husband grew up on more than 60 acres. We are country people at heart and love the outdoors. When we found a backyard that has a *gasp* .75 acre lot, we snagged it. According to an article from Life Education, research has shown “playing in the dirt can strengthen young immune systems. Without exposure to everyday germs, which can be found in mud, children miss out on building a stronger, more robust immunity to sickness.” Yep. My laundry pile can attest to this.
  2. I let my kids touch everything
    I’m that mom whose baby is gumming the grocery buggy handle. We play without fear at CMOM and indoor jumping places, because exposure to germs keeps us from getting sick. We give hugs and high fives to strangers, homeless people, newcomers at church, friends, and family members. I don’t put covers on public highchairs or shopping carts (but that’s mostly because I’m too lazy to pack them for outings).
  3. We wash our hands
    Okay, so number 2 made me sound like a crazy person, but I also don’t care what my kids touch because I make them wash their hands. With hot water and soap. This honestly is the easiest way to keep gets from getting sick. You will not find a bottle of hanitizer anywhere in our house, but you will find a large bottle of all-natural hand soap located at every sink.
  4. We take a shower/bath every day
    While we also use bath time to designate it’s time to wind down and bedtime is approaching, we do bathe every night to wash off the day’s germs. I love germs. They are good. But bad germs are bad and I like knowing my kids have washed them away. Of course, they’re probably also covered in a good deal of dirt (see number 1), so a bath isn’t just a fun activity, it’s a necessity.
  5. We have animals
    9 chickens, 10 baby chicks, 2 large dogs, 2 kitties, 3 parakeets, a box turtle, a beta fish, a bearded dragon, and a partridge in a pear tree. Just kidding. Not yet. BUT point being — pets are dirty. And parakeets? SUPER dirty. Changing the litter box? Gross. And nobody stops my kids from getting doggy kisses right on the mouth either! OR driving the chickens around in their barbie car. (I feel like this just made us look even weirder than before). Paige even discovered that cuddling with her chickens (what?!) produces more eggs. Who knew chickens needed a little love?

    chicken
    Who knew chickens like to snuggle?
  6. We don’t run to the doctor for every little ailment
    In fact, we rarely go the doctor for sick visits. I’m not a worrier, so it better be pretty bad for me to even consider heading to the hospital ER or urgent care. Y’all, again, I have 5 kids. I don’t have time to spend 3 hours at the doctors office, only to be told that they have a virus of some sorts. Only a few of my kids have ever had an ear infection. And only one has ever been to the ER for stitches. If my kids have a fever, I usually let their bodies ride it out. (I actually don’t own a thermometer *gasp, I know*) If they need Tylenol to help relieve their symptoms, I gladly give them a dose. But man, a band aid is magic and so is a few mom snuggles and prayers. Runny noses and fevers build immunity.
  7. I’m slightly obsessed with Thieves cleaner
    Oh em gee. This stuff is unbelievable. I buy the concentrate and just add water to my own glass spray bottle. I use it daily to clean all my counter tops, floors, and even soak hard plastic toys in the bathtub. It cleans everything! If I could wash my kids in it, I would. Oh wait! I can. They have a hand soap or you can diffuse it into the air. I swear it’s been a game changer in our household.

    cleaner
    This is magic in a bottle. One bottle usually lasts me a whole year, so it’s budget friendly too!
  8. We don’t eat too many processed foods
    Humble brag time, but it’s true. You are what you eat. And I make sure to provide lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. And canned or frozen are just as great too. We drink lots of smoothies, we hide veggies in hearty soups and casseroles and I even buy “pasta” made out of chickpeas. We’ve taught our kids to not only eat their greens, but how to shop for them, how to cut them, and various ways to prepare them. Now, I’m not saying we don’t do the whole Chick Fil A drive through, and we eat Little Caesars on Fridays more than I’d like to admit. But as a whole, we eat very healthy. (Plus it helps us stay on a budget. Totally another blog)

    eggs
    My kids love eggs!
  9. We drink lots of water
    Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink. KIDDING. We have about a thousand water bottles in our house (all missing lids of course). But it’s mind boggling to see kids out in public chugging everything but water. Sugary juice drinks. KoolAid. Chocolate milk. Even sodas like Coke and Mt. Dew. WE LIVE IN MEMPHIS PEOPLE. Literally the best water in our country is here. Straight from the aquifer. It’s delicious. Our bodies were created to need water. It helps in digestion and keeping everything regular. Our kids love them some Milo’s lemonade, but for the most part, if they are thirsty, they’re directed over to the kitchen sink.
  10. They see a chiropractor
    I’m all about preventing sickness. And we’ve determined as a family that chiropractic care is the way to go. It helps my son’s digestive issues, my daughter’s ADHD concerns, and helps manage their growing pains. Even the 3 year old gets adjusted.
  11. They go to bed early and get lots of sleep
    The younger ones are in bed between 7:30 and 8:00pm and my older ones (teens) are usually asleep by 9:30. We learned very quickly that kids need lots of sleep — between 10 and 12 hours every night! Sleep restores our bodies. But don’t take my word for it. According to Medical News Today, “sleep is a vital, often neglected component of every person’s overall health and well-being.” Basically getting adequate rest not only helps our body to repair and be fit, but it helps prevent weight gain, heart disease, and cuts down on the duration of illnesses.
  12. They’re extremely active
    Exercise is important to overall health and wellbeing. Stronger kids have stronger bodies. Sweat is a natural cleaner and releases toxins. Not only is exercise good for mental health, but for children, exercise can build strong bones and muscles, improve cardiovascular health, improve balance and coordination, create flexibility, and improve posture. All of this leads to healthy kids that don’t get sick often!

    outside
    No matter the weather, our kids are active outside!

Now I’m not perfect and we don’t do all of these perfectly all the time either. But I’ve found with these tips and tricks, we avoid getting sick (and even minor coughs and sniffles). Anything I should add to my list? Any recommendations?

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Originally from near Pittsburgh PA, Lori moved to Memphis in 2009. She has a passion for working with special needs children as an ABA therapist and also teaches swim lessons out of her own pool each summer. Lori is married to Ryan, an archaeology professor at the U of M. Together they have five great kids; Ali (April 2007), Asher (Dec 2009), Kates (Oct 2012), Paige (April 2014) and Gwendolyn (July 2019). Lori loves Jesus, lattes and grocery shopping alone. She's not a fan of getting up early in the morning!

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