Back to School is fun for kids. And busy for parents. What, with all the new clothes to buy, schedules to memorize, carpools to organize and children to motivate. Not to mention the reintroduction of bedtimes and alarm-clocked awakenings. Oy!
Once that bell rings, the kids rejoice in seeing their friends again. But there’s one “friend” nobody’s too thrilled to see again. Especially parents. LICE!
In the midst of this flurry, it’s the last thing we want to think about. I mean, we’ve just got our days back. Now this! It’s enough to bring even Supermom to her knees. While lice cannot be completely avoided, here are some tips to help keep the evil critters from invading your home.
1. Know When Not to Share
While lice is mostly spread through head to head contact, it can be transmitted by sharing personal items. Sharing is great but not hats, scarves, brushes, combs or hair accessories.
2. Beware of Close Encounters
Lice are easily spread between kids when they work or play with their heads together. Lice can’t jump or fly but they can crawl lightening fast through hair. Show kids how they can share a book or computer screen without touching heads.
3. Learn to Love the Up Do
Put your child’s hair up in a braid or bun if possible. Lice have a harder time traveling through braided hair and a bun ensures that her hair won’t be hanging close to another child’s head.
4. Be Offensive
Make your child’s head less inviting to lice. Lice actually like squeaky clean hair the best. Decrease the frequency of hair washing so there is some natural oil in the hair making it more difficult for a louse to travel. Use a preventative spray on your child’s head each morning. Essential oils including mint, rosemary, lavender, geranium and tea tree can serve as a lice repellants.
5. Become a Detective
Check your child weekly with good lighting and a good quality lice comb (the Terminator is the best). Pick a night each week to run a lice comb through your kids’ hair so you can catch an infestation early before it becomes unmanageable.
6. ‘Fess up
If you do draw the short straw and find that you have lice in your family, make notifying friends and family part of the treatment strategy. The only way to control lice in a school community is to de-stigmatize the problem and communicate with one another. Don’t assume that the school will notify other families.
Lice happens. It’s not personal. Catching lice is no more a commentary on your parenting or household than is getting the flu. Just like hand washing can help prevent illness, using some preventative measures can lower your risk of catching these pesky critters.
Happy Back to School everyone!