sneezingThere are so many wonderful things about this festive time of year. There are special foods, time with family, parties, and events galore. It's all fun and games ... until someone gets sick. And boy do kids get sick this time of year.

From sniffles and sneezes to the flu and other not-so-fun ailments, the season of sick is also upon us. Sometimes it feels like between now and spring, it's just one big long string of illness passed from one child to the next and back again ... and again.

But there are some things you can do to help break the sick cycle and actually keep your kids healthy. They're not foolproof, of course, but they certainly up your odds for a merrier and healthier season. Here are 10 tips to keep your kids healthy that you may not have considered:

1. Use paper towels in the bathroom. Instead of sharing one hand towel where germs can be passed, use disposal, one-use paper towels.

2. Serve up the good foods. The vitamins and nutrients in fruits and vegetables can play a major role in boosting your child's immune system.

3. Yogurt is more than just yummy. Some studies have found that eating 3/4 cup of yogurt a day can reduce one's chance of getting a cold by 25 percent.

4. Make exercise a priority. Keeping their bodies in tip-top shape will boost immunity and help them be in fighting form when it comes to germs.

5. For younger kids -- don't let pacifiers be a problem. Because they're put directly in their mouth, it's important to frequently wash pacifiers ... or try to get your baby to ditch them altogether. For older kids -- encourage/remind them to keep their fingers, pencils, etc. out of their mouth.

6. Make sure they drink plenty of water. According to WebMD, water can flush out the body's toxins. To determine if your kid is getting enough, check their urine. It should be close to clear. Dark yellow means they need more hydration.

7. Keep hand sanitizer in your car. Right after you strap on your seat belts, give everyone a squirt. No matter where you have been -- the school, the park, the library, or the grocery store -- there are germs lurking.

8. When one person in the family gets sick, go into prevention mode to try and protect the rest of you. Wipe down the surfaces of counters, doorknobs, toilets, and other often-touched areas with a disinfectant frequently. Germs can live for hours if you don't kill them.

9. Make sleep a priority. Sure, there's lots to do, but a lack of sleep can make one more susceptible to illness.

10. Encourage frequent hand-washing. Okay, you've probably thought of this one before, but a reminder never hurts.

What do you do to keep your kids healthy?


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