As back to school (or co-op for us) time approaches, so does cold and flu season, and I’m excited to share some simple tips for keeping your family healthy in this post, sponsored by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All thoughts, opinions, and tips are my own – and tried and tested in our home. It’s time to go #BackToClean with us and #CollectiveBias – are you ready?

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Fall is coming, and so are opportunities to spread germs. We’re an active on the go homeschooling family, looking for adventure, and exploring with friends. In the coming year we’ll be in two different co-ops, involved in classes at local parks and museums, and will take lots of field trips with friends. We’ll be running into a lot of people. And, since my husband teaches and travels between schools in his district, he rubs shoulders with lots of people – big and small – throughout each day.

We’re exposed to a lot of germs.

And when a family of six (or more) gets a bug, it takes forever to get it out of the house because it gets passed around and around and around, annihilating everyone in its path at least once, sometimes more.

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So, we try to stay ahead of the game by using these tips to keep everyone in the family healthy and able to fight back with healthy immune systems all year long.

Wash Hands

Teach your kids to wash their hands when they use the restroom, get dirty, before they eat, and after they blow their noses. And, well, any other time they’re dirty as well. Since my kids like to put the soap on their hands and then run them directly under the water, I’ve taught them the old standby – sing a song while they scrub the soap in and make bubbles.

We made this one up and sing it to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat…”

Wash, wash, wash your hands,

Wash them every day…

Back and forth, sudsy fun,

Now germs will go away!

The kids sing it three times while scrubbing and squishing the soap all around. Effective, and fun.

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Don’t Pick

Oh…My…Goodness. Do your kids touch their faces, put their hands in their mouths, scratch at (and worse – pick) their noses, and rub their eyes all day long? It drives me bonkers. I’m constantly telling them to stop picking.

Remind your kiddos that germs love warm, moist places like their noses, eyes, mouths, and ears. If they’re picking and rubbing at those places, they will get sick.

It’s best to just keep their hands away from their faces.

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Keep Away

While you don’t want to be anti-social, you also don’t want to help germs get the chance to spread to you. Remind your kids that if friends are sick or sniffling that they shouldn’t share pencils or other supplies at school or co-op classes. If you’re heading to a family gathering, give hugs instead of kisses of you can, and keep a slight distance when you notice someone coughing.

While this isn’t always realistic, and you need to be around sick family and friends sometimes, it’s up to you to teach your kids to be smart. They must learn to take care of their own health.

It’s best to stay home and play some games together as a family or snuggle up for some Netflix on the couch.

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Disinfect Often

I have four children. Germs and messes are a reality here. I have oodles of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes canisters stock-piled in the basement. We keep them in every room here. I even keep a canister in each vehicle for easy access.

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Do you use these? They make it simple to clean and disinfect at the same time, killing the germs and viruses that cause colds and flu. They even combat common bacteria like Staph, Salmonella, and E. coli. It’s like a powerful germ-fighting superhero hiding out in my cupboard, waiting to fight for our family’s health.

You can find Clorox Disinfecting Wipes at Target in the cleaning aisle. There different scents to choose from, and we recently added a three-pack of canisters to our cart in preparation of the return to co-op. I’ll stash them in my supply cart so I have them in the classrooms, and can wipe down tables before and after the kids get to work.

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Be a Hermit

If you, your kids, or your spouse are sick, stay home. Hole up in your room, wipe down anything that doesn’t move with Clorox wipes, and sip lots of liquids. But don’t head out to school, a co-op class, or the neighborhood get-together where you’ll spend your time contaminating everyone else.

I know that this bit of advice stinks. I hate staying home when there are places to be and people to see, but if you can stay home when you’re not feeling well (or your kids aren’t), then please do. The rest of the world will thank you and you’ll get through it so much more quickly by taking time to rest.

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Cover it Up

I know that this seems like a no-brainer, but cover up your coughs and sneezes. And teach your kiddos to do the same. Sneeze or cough into your bent elbow to keep the germs better contained and off your hands. If you do use your hands, see the first tip again and WASH them.

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Throw it Out

Those tissues and Clorox wipes… throw them out. In a garbage can. Don’t leave them lying on countertops and on the floor. Make sure you and your kids are keeping things straightened up when you have colds and flus running through the house. It’s important to keep the germs from spreading further than they need to, and throwing out used tissues and Clorox wipes is a simple trick to making this happen.

Eat Well

This may be the most important thing you can do to keep your family healthy. Try to avoid processed and premade foods when you can. If possible, cook meals using whole, fresh meats, produce, and grains. Take some time each week to make up a bunch of granola bars, cookies, and fruit leather.

Snack on wholesome treats, or make your own snack mixes with one or two small treats or sweet things thrown in.

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When you think ahead, act smart, wash up, and disinfect regularly, it’s simple to keep your family healthy when everyone else around you is getting sick. Do you use Clorox wipes around your house, or do you have any other tips for keeping your family healthy to add? Share them in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Colleen Kessler

Colleen is an explorer, tinkerer, educator, writer, creator, and a passionate advocate for the needs of gifted and twice-exceptional children. She has a B.S. in elementary education, a M.Ed. in gifted studies, is a sought-after national speaker and educational consultant, and is the founder of the popular blog and podcast Raising Lifelong Learners, as well as Raising Poppies, a community of support for parents of gifted children. She lives in northeast Ohio with her four bright and quirky kiddos, patient husband, and ever-changing collection of small reptiles, mammals, and insects.