By Beth Pinyerd
For the Opelika

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise!”
This is true in not only making all A’s on the academic report card, but also on keeping a “good health” report card.
One of the first instructions we children received when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s after getting home from school was to go wash my hands, bathe and brush my teeth to ward off germs that may be easily passed around at school. Children today usually don’t go home right after school but parents can follow these tips to help children stay healthy during the winter. These simple suggestions have been shared from health specialists to teachers and parents.
Handwashing is so important in reducing the passage of germs. Use lukewarm water and soap to wash hands and fingernails for at least 20 seconds, then rinse hands and dry them thoroughly. Remind your child to wash their hands after going to the bathroom or right before meals.
Make sure the nutritional needs of your child are met. Eating healthy meals helps your child to better fight colds. Eating vegetables, fruits, and a well-balanced meal can be modeled by parents and adults by eating the right foods in front of your children.
Make sure children get adequate rest. Rest is such good medicine for young, growing bodies. Make it a point to have your child on a routine bedtime each night and to take a “cat nap” or small rest when they get home from school to renew themselves to play as well as do homework.
Encourage your child to play outside and get plenty of fresh air. Make sure it is a reasonable temperature as you bundle up your children to play outside when temperatures are cold. Young children love free pay. Being able to run, skip, and explore encourages not only muscle development but language development and good social interaction.
When your child is sick, help them get well. Schools and childcare centers have policies on when your child can return to school after they have been sick.
Follow these policies closely so other students and teaching staff don’t get sick.