You might be concerned about sending your child to daycare if they have never gone to any sort of daycare or school program before. Many parents worry that the exposure to more children from diverse living conditions will increase the chances of illness in their own child. Your child may get a cold more often than he or she did before, but there are a few things you can do to help your child stay healthy at daycare.

1. Teach hand washing

This is the most critical step of keeping your child healthy at daycare. Many children forget to wash their hands very often. You might teach your child about germs and how it's important to wash hands, especially before eating and after going to the bathroom. You might also request that the teacher helps your child wash hands after playing with community toys or after playing outdoors. Washing hands prevents disease from spreading. 

2. Provide nourishing foods

Children who have a diverse and healthy diet are less likely to get sick than those who do not. Fruits and vegetables have anti-inflammatory properties that can strengthen your child's immune system. Focus on making sure your son or daughter gets enough servings of fruits and vegetables. You might consider putting veggies in smoothies, bread, or even muffins if your child has a hard time eating them.

3. Stay home when ill

If your child does get sick, it's best to follow the policy of not sending a sick child to daycare. Not only will sickness get other children sick, but it will decrease the immune system of your own child. You child (and other children) are more likely to catch another bug if they are not fully recovered from the one they have. 

Instead of daycare, choose rest and wait to return until your child is back to vibrant health. 

4. Wash items like book bags, school clothes, and even door knobs often

Many parents don't think about washing things like book bags, pencil cases, and other school supplies. These are often shared, so they can get more dirty than your might think. if your child brings toys or items from home for things like show and tell, you should wash those as well. You can also prevent the spread of illness in your home by washing things like handles and light switch covers. 

For more information on daycare and your child's health, contact a childcare professional in your area.