It’s no secret that any place that hosts a large group of people in a confined space is considered to be a germ factory. Airplanes, cruise ships, you name it, if someone has even the slightest sniffle you’ll be sure to catch it as well.
Kindergarten, and school in general, is no exception. Kids are taught to share everything, but germs are the gift that keeps on giving.
I wouldn’t say that kids will for certain be sick all the time when they start going to school, but I will admit that I found Isla waking up with a runny nose WAY more often than when she was even in preschool twice a week. No matter how hard you hammer the “Wash your hands, cover your mouth” ritual into their brains, catching multiple colds during the school year is inevitable. We battled some variety of germ at least once every 6 weeks. Sad, but true.
I wish I could give you tips on how to prevent your kids from getting sick, but I fear there is no way. The best advice I can give would be to not stress out when your kid is sick, and don’t feel guilty if you feel he or she isn’t well enough to go school. Kindergarteners generally don’t miss out on too terribly much when they skip a day or two, and I personally believe that if they’re not feeling well they’re not paying attention in class anyway.
Once Isla had told me that she wasn’t feeling well, but she wasn’t running a fever so I sent her to school anyway. There was a special presentation her class was putting on, and between her turns she just laid on the gym floor completely out of it. I felt horrible when I took her temperature and she was burning up. Needless to say, she stayed home for two days until she was well enough to go back.
Germs, of course, are not limited to just colds and the flu. There’s pink eye. Head lice. Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease. Don’t those just sound lovely? There’s a vaccine for it now, but chicken pox were the trendy virus back in my day. Thankfullllly we had no serious issues with any of those and *only* one child got pink eye but it was caught before it was spread throughout the classroom. An email was sent home as a precaution so we could properly sanitize anything that went to and from school and we hoped for the best.
I think hoping for the best is the only thing you can really do when it comes to preventing your child from catching bugs and germs. Do your best to have your child wash his or her hands regularly with soap. Have them practice using their “Cough catcher” (i.e., coughing or sneezing into their “elbow pit”). Remind them about personal space and to not get too close to anyone’s face. Just be prepared at home with Tylenol, Kleenex and whatever else you may need to make your child feel better sooner, and take everything else in stride.
Oh yes, and be sure to prepare yourself too, because nothing is harder than trying to get your child out the door for the day when you feel like death yourself. Vitamin C and echinacea are my go-to’s, and I start taking them the moment either child has signs of the sniffles.
Also – kids who went to preschool and/or daycare get sick just as frequently as kids who don’t. There’s no need to question or blame yourself if your child seems to fall ill more than Susan’s kid who went to preschool full time.