If you have kids, then you know the struggle is real. Keeping kids healthy can often feel like a battle! Want to restore your sanity? Try these genius tips and tricks!

kids running and playing outside, from Fun Cheap or Free

Between allergies, runny noses, ear infections, bumps and bruises, and cavities, it seems like keeping all your kids healthy at the same time is a pipe dream. Do your kids ever fight you on veggies, bedtime, vitamins, bathtime, brushing their teeth, or screentime? How about all of the above.

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Well, you are not alone! And don't you worry; help is on the way. Today, we're sharing some of our best hacks to keep kids healthy and keep the peace at homeā€”no more battles for you. Here we go!


KEEP YOUR KIDS HEALTHY & CLEAN: HOW TO AVOID BATHTIME BATTLES

Kids are messy, and with messes come germs, too! Especially during cold and flu season, one of the best ways to keep those germs at bay is with a nice warm bath. But sometimes, that's easier said than done. Do you have a kiddo who fights you on baths? Um, same. Here are some quick tips to try:

  • Throw a Glow Stick Party – Queue up some fun music, turn all the lights off, and give your kids glow sticks to play with in the bath. SO much fun! You can also try adding some glow-in-the-dark decals to the bathroom ceiling.
  • Invest in Bath Markers – If your kid is a budding artist, tap into their creative side and let them go to town with bathtub markers! They might not even notice they're getting clean in the process.
  • Put on Your Swimsuit – When all else fails, suit up and crawl in the tub with your kiddo. It's fun!

Pro Tip: If your toddler or younger kiddo is afraid of the drain, try covering it with a washcloth, and wait to drain the tub when they're out. It's a simple way to ease some bath time anxiety.


QUICK TIPS FOR SNEAKING HEALTHY FOOD INTO YOUR KIDS' DIETS

mom chopping veggies for healthy meal, from Fun Cheap or Free

If your kid would rather make a meal out of chips and queso than touch a carrot, we feel you. No judgment here! Looking for a few clever ways to get them to branch out eat more fruits and veggies? We have a whole post about hidden veggie recipes on our Shelf Cooking blog, so definitely check that out! In the meantime, here are three quick tips to try:

  • Puree Fruits & Veggies – It's SO easy to sneak some pureed cauliflower or butternut squash into a batch of macaroni and cheese. Our kids devour it and then we sit back and smile, knowing they're getting an extra dose of vitamin. Muhahaha!
  • Offer Healthy Snack Options – We like to keep fruit leathers and frozen smoothie packs on hand so our kids can reach for healthier snack options. They don't even notice when we add veggies to their smoothies!
  • Add Veggies to Your Meat – This is the sneakiest, easiest way to get your kids to eat their vegetables! Mince or dice a few veggies and add them to your next batch of ground beef. Serve them in tacos or on spaghetti, and we guarantee they'll never know. Bonus: veggies help stretch meat further and keep it moist!

Okay, now for our next set of tricks, let's talk about oral health. We wish we'd had these tips when we were trying to get our oldest kid to brush his teeth!


HEALTHY SMILES & HAPPY MOUTHS: TIPS FOR GETTING YOUR KIDS TO BRUSH THEIR TEETH

Man, oh, man. Getting kids to brush their teeth before bed can feel like the most epic battle sometimes. We love that just-brushed feeling, so we'll never understand why kids fight it so much, but it is what it is. Try these tips to make using a toothbrush a whole lot more fun:

  • Make a Special Playlist Together – Get your kid to choose a few of their favorite songs, make a playlist, and bring it out only during toothbrushing time! The rules are simple: you have to brush your teeth until the music stops. If you make a game out of it, it's pretty fun.
  • Use an Egg-Timer – Place a two-minute egg-timer on the kitchen sink and make it a challenge. Encourage them to brush until the sand runs out, and make a big deal about celebrating when they reach that goal.
  • Let Them Choose Their Toothbrush & Toothpaste – We all love using new things, right? Every two-to-three months, take them on a shopping trip and let them pick out their toothbrush and toothpaste. We've found character-based toothbrushes are pretty much a miracle.

Hopefully one or two of those tips will do the trick for you! Next up: let's talk about exercise.


HOW TO ENCOURAGE YOUR KIDS TO EXERCISE

kid washing car, from Fun Cheap or Free

Remember when we were kids, and our parents had to BEG us to come inside at dinnertime? Now that iPads are a thing, we feel like we have to beg our kids to go play outside more often than not. So, how do you convince your kids that exercise is more fun than screen time? Here are some sneaky ways to make fitness a part of everyday life:

  • Family Dance Parties During Commercial Breaks – Commercials. What are those?! We know, we know. Instead of pressing fast forward, let those commercials play and get the whole family up for a dance break. You'd be surprised how many calories you can burn during a one-hour show!
  • Go on a Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt – Head to your local park for a family walk and turn it into an adventure. Make your own nature bingo cards or start a friendly competition to get those little feet moving. And check out these outdoor activities for more inspiration!
  • Assign Age-Appropriate Chores – Cleaning up totally counts as exercise, and it engages a different part of the brain than a screen would. Here's a list of chores appropriate for kids of all ages!

Pro Tip: If screen time is a constant struggle in your house, try our Clipboard system for kids. It really works well. Promise!


TIPS & TRICKS FOR ENCOURAGING YOUR KIDS TO DEVELOP HEALTHY SLEEP HABITS

“But I don't wanna go to bed!” How many times have you heard that line?! Here are a few ideas for getting your kids into a healthy sleep routine:

  • No Screens Before Bed – We suggest taking all screens away at least 30-minutes before bed. Not only does that help little brains have an easier time unwinding, but it also means you can spend quality time together before bed. Even a few minutes of focused time can fill up your kid's love tank and lead to less protest.
  • Establish a Routine – Kids crave predictability, so developing a bedtime routine is one of the best ways to get them sleeping reliably. Focus on calming activities like a bedtime story or song right before bed. Let them pick the book, so it's more fun for them!
  • Invest in a Hatch Sound Machine These things are pretty much magic. Not only does the white noise help your little dreamers drift off to sleep, but you can program them with a stoplight system that lets kids know when it's okay to get up for the day. This is a game-changer if you have preschoolers or younger elementary-aged kids!

Okay, ready for the next big challenge? Let's talk about getting kids to drink more water.


EASY WAYS TO GET YOUR KIDS TO DRINK MORE WATER

little girl drinking a glass of water, from Fun Cheap or Free

Okay, to be honest, we need some help in this area, too. Why is drinking water such a struggle?! Here's how to make sure your kids drink enough water each day:

  • Dilute Their Juice – This little trick saves money, too! Fill a cup two-thirds full with water, then add some juice. They'll get the flavor they love without all the sugar.
  • Fill Their Cups With Frozen Fruit Cubes – Colorful ice cubes are just way more fun!
  • Electrolyte Popsicles – We use this trick all the time when our kiddos are sick. Freeze some Pedialyte and serve it up in the form of a popsicle!

Alright, it's time for the grand finale. We saved the best (toughest?!) for last. It's time to talk about preventing the sniffles!


TIPS FOR PREVENTING COLDS & KEEPING KIDS HEALTHY DURING FLU SEASON

Runny noses are a way of life when you have kids in school or daycare. But there are a few things you can do to help strengthen their immune systems and keep colds at bay. (Disclaimer: we are not medical experts! You should always consult with your doctor before giving your kids medicines or supplements.) These are a few things that work for us:

  • Children's Emergen C – Okay, this stuff is amazing! Maybe you've asked yourself, “is Emergen-C safe for kids?” Well, there's a version just for kids! We won't lie, the stuff is a little pricey, but we've found it does work well! And if you're looking for cheap Emergen-C, go for the generic brand. Most drugstores carry it for about half the price!
  • Encourage Frequent Hand-Washing – Teaching your kids from a very young age to follow basic handwashing hygiene is SO important! Make a game out of it just like you do with the toothbrush. Set up a timer, sing a song, whatever works!
  • Saline Spray + Humidifier – Give your kids a little saline nose spray before bed and turn on the humidifier to keep their noses clear! It works wonders, especially in dry climates, and it can help kids sleep better, too. In the end, sleep is the best way to boost your immune system.

Overall, making sure your kids get regular exercise and eat more veggies is a game-changer when it comes to surviving cold and flu season, so all the tips we've shared really work hand in hand.


We hope these tips help you restore a bit of sanity and keep the peace in your house! Keeping kids healthy can be fun, so give these ideas a try and let us know how it goes!

How do you get your kids to eat their veggies? Drop your best tips in the comments below!

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