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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, September 14, 2006

How to keep child healthy

By Rose Shin

As a parent, the thought of keeping your child home from school may mean a lost day of work and a pile of makeup work for your child. For teachers, a sick child in the classroom holds the potential to send the sniffles around to everyone not just to other students, but to teachers as well.

No matter how you look at it, sickness takes its toll on classroom progress.

Here are a few things you can do as a parent to help your child stay healthy and performing well in school.

First, make sure your child is a good hand-washer. Show children how to wash their hands for 10 to 15 seconds with warm soap and water. Rinsing quickly in cold water, as many kids do, doesn't get rid of germs. This is the single most effective method for preventing illness.

Second, while it is important for kids to share, this does not apply to things such as juice boxes, cups and utensils. It is easy for germs to be passed around the cafeteria table if children are sharing lunches. Teach your child the importance of staying healthy by not sharing germs at lunch time.

See that your child also gets enough sleep and has a healthy diet. Eight hours of sleep per night and a balanced diet will help keep your child's immune system functioning at its peak.

Finally, if your child comes down with a sickness, make sure he or she has recovered before sending the child back into the classroom. Even if your child is almost well, don't put other students and even teachers at risk of getting sick.

This column is provided through the Hawai'i State Teachers Association. Rose Shin is a first-grade teacher at Maukalani Elementary School.