Flu season is quickly approaching and this year there are more concerns than ever. Parents now have to navigate both flu season and a looming global pandemic. While the COVID-19 pandemic opened up communications and awareness about germs for many children, explaining there are multiple sicknesses to protect ourselves from can be overwhelming for little ones. Discover how to prepare for flu seasons with little kids during a pandemic.
Explain the Flu To Your Kids
The first step to helping protect your family from the flu is educating your kids. Depending on the age of your kids, this can be very surface-level or more in-depth explanations. Most children really respond to opportunities to learn new things—especially from their moms!
Here are some tips for different age groups:
4 to 6 years old
For 4 to 6 year-old children, the ins and outs of germs and sickness can be scary and confusing. By this age, your child can identify what being sick feels like. Capitalize on this and explain the different ways they can help prevent having to feel sick.
7 to 10 years old
Your growing kid understands a lot more than they’re often given credit for. Try explaining what the flu shot is, how it helps, and what the flu does to their bodies. Adjust this based on your child’s interest and comprehension levels, but this is a good way to pique an interest in science and medicine!
11 to 15 years old
11 to 15 year-old kids think they know everything and are fully grown up. As the person who cooks all their meals and gets the spaghetti sauce stains out of their favorite shirt twice a week, you know this isn’t quite true. It is important to talk to your older child like they are adults so they feel equal and intelligent. Explain everything you know about the flu and encourage questions.
Take a Family Trip To Get Flu Shots
Flu shots, and any shots in general, are scary for a kid—especially a little child. Make it a little less scary by making a family day of it. Start off with a fun family breakfast together featuring some of their favorite treats. Then explain that the whole family has to go to the doctor together. Depending on your child’s aversion to needles, you may or may not want to tell them exactly what will happen at the doctor’s office. The whole family getting flu shots together can make the experience a little less scary.
Keep Your Home Germ-Free
Disinfection is key to a germ-free home. Be sure to wipe down surfaces with high-touch rates such as favorite toys, light switches, door handles, bedside tables, and bathrooms. It’s no secret kids lick everything (regardless if it makes sense or not), so stay on the safe side and focus on the importance of disinfecting your home by creating and sticking to a disinfection schedule.
There are many ways how to prepare for flu season with little kids. Sickness happens sometimes, especially if your kids are of school age and participating in in-person learning. Do your best to protect them from the flu as a parent, and if they do get sick, don’t panic and call your pediatrician.