With November upon us, we’re starting to experience the colder weather that the wintertime months are associated with. While it hasn’t quite gotten to those frigid temperatures in many places, we’ll be there before we know it. If you have kids, wintertime can be stressful due to wanting to avoid your child falling ill, especially as we’re currently living through a pandemic. Kids tend to be especially susceptible to getting sick, and while it might be impossible to avoid, there are things you can do to lower their chances of catching something. Here are a few ways you can help keep your children healthy this coming winter.

Teach Kids to Wash Their Hands

This is common knowledge, but it never hurts to give a gentle reminder. Washing your hands is important. We touch a lot of surfaces throughout the day, and there’s a virus going around that can be transferred via touch. Kids, especially younger kids, get their hands in all sorts of gross places and also have a tendency to put their hands in their mouths. It’s critical for both your child’s health and the health of everyone they come into that they understand how to properly wash their hands, and the situations where they should do so. These situations include before and after eating, after sneezing or coughing, or after touching dirt, garbage, or other potentially dirty surfaces.

Know When to Bring Your Child to the Doctor

When winter rolls around, you might have one of those children who seems like they’re constantly sick, but in reality, they only have a simple cold that will likely go away in a few days. It’s important for you as a parent to understand when your child just needs a day or two of rest or if they actually need to go to a doctor. While it’s easy to worry about your child, you don’t want to call the doctor for every little cough or sneeze they display. What is important is that you’re able to recognize symptoms that do warrant a doctor’s visit. If your child has a high fever, especially 103 or higher, you’ll want to call. You’ll also want to see a doctor if they’re wheezing or having trouble breathing (especially right now with the pandemic), or if they display vomiting or diarrhea as well as other potentially serious symptoms.

Make Sure Your Kids Get Enough Sleep

Regardless of how old you are, sleep will always be important. For kids, especially younger kids, getting enough sleep can make a big difference in whether or not they fall ill. Sleep will help your immune system stay up to snuff and combat the harsher illnesses that are out there, so be sure your kids get enough sleep every night. The amount of time varies based on age – infants under a year old typically need between 12 and 18 hours of sleep each night, whereas toddlers between ages 1 and 3 need closer to 12. As they get older, the amount of sleep they need will slowly decrease, but sleep will always be important and it’s vital your children understand that.