Natural Flu and Cold Remedy Ideas for your Preschooler

With a nationwide shortage of children’s Advil and Tylenol, parents are looking for alternative ways to treat their preschooler’s cold and flu symptoms. We’ve all heard these stories of parents crossing the border into the U.S. to secure a few bottles to help treat their infants and children. Until Health Canada properly addresses these product shortages, SimplySmart has come up with some natural child-friendly home remedies to relieve the cold and flu.

How do I know whether my preschooler has a cold or the flu?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), common cold symptoms include sore throat and a runny nose followed by coughing and sneezing. Most children will recover in about 7-10 days. The first signs of the flu can be similar to a cold but include stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, fever or feeling feverish/chills, headaches and fatigue. Most children will recover from the flu within a week. However, they still may feel tired for as long as 3 to 4 weeks.

If we have learned anything from the pandemic, it’s we stay home when we are sick. We would advise if your child has an onset of common cold symptoms or flu or has any of the above symptoms that, they stay home and not attend daycare or any childcare setting. We know that when children get sick, it is never convenient and can be challenging if parents have to go into work, but it’s a sacrifice we must make. If you do have family or a friend who is willing to watch your child while ill, we recommend that they mask up and frequently wash their hands to keep the virus from reaching them.

Help your preschooler find relief with these natural home remedies for cold and flu.

  • To loosen mucus, run a hot shower and have your child sit in the bathroom so they can breathe in the moist, warm air from the steam. Saline drops and mists can also help because the salt loosens the mucus.
  • For children over 6 months, give them plenty of warm fluids, including soup and hibiscus tea.
  • For children older than a year, give them a teaspoon of honey before they brush their teeth. This will help subside their cough.
  • Consult your doctor to put your child on Vitamin D drops and other supplements.
  • Consider purchasing a humidifier if you don’t already have one. You will want to set it to cool-midst. This is help soothe an irritated or sore throat.
  • Essential oils like doTerra “Breathe” in a humidifier help night time congestion.

When is it time to see a doctor?

Consider setting up a virtual phone call or an in-person visit with your family practitioner if your child starts exhibiting the following common cold or flu symptoms:

  • Wheezing
  • Fast breathing
  • Trouble breathing and vomiting
  • Difficulty waking up
  • If their fever lasts for longer than 72 hours, according to the Canadian Pediatric Society.

Why Choose SimplySmart?

If you want to join a community created to help parents, we would like you to consider using  SimplySmart Child Care Centre & Montessori for your child and family’s needs. Our daycare locations will be enrolling for the Universal childcare agreement, so you can rest assured that you will get the benefit from the Ontario Childcare deal.

To learn more about our Play-Based or Montessori programs, please visit

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