If you’re a parent who’s concerned about the upcoming sniffle season and are wondering what you can do to help keep your kids healthy, you may be searching for ways in which you can boost their immunity. Ensuring your kids’ immune systems are as strong as possible can help keep them safe from the germs they’re exposed to.
Because children’s immune systems aren’t as primed to fight off germs and viruses as those of adults are, working on building up your kids’ immunity is key to helping prepare them for a lifetime of good health. While getting your kids ready for the upcoming season may seem like a daunting challenge, it doesn’t have to be! Besides talking with a pediatrician, there are some things you can do at home to start boosting their immunity and helping them feel their best. Here are a few top tips for building up your children’s immune systems that you can start implementing right away.
It’s imperative for children to get all the vitamins and minerals they need in order for their bodies to function at their best. You should also ensure that you’re serving them plenty of fruits and vegetables. This is because fruits and vegetables contain immune-boosting phytonutrients. Phytonutrients help increase production of disease-fighting white blood cells, and may even help the body fight off viruses more effectively. With a phytonutrient-rich diet, your kids may even gain an advantage in staving off serious diseases later on in life, such as heart disease or cancer. While there are many options out there for healthy fruits and veggies that you can choose based on taste preferences, some nutrient-rich options include:
- Green beans
- Whole grains
- Lean protein
- Nuts and seeds
A good rule of thumb is to make sure your children get five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. While the serving size varies based on your kids’ age, one serving for a typical toddler is about two tablespoons, while for older children, this can be raised up to one cup. If your kids are hesitant to try certain fruits and veggies, consider adding fresh produce to dishes they already enjoy to get them to try the food. Another tip is to get kids, especially slightly older ones, involved in cooking and preparing meals. Studies have shown that when children are involved in meal preparation, they recognize the final product as something they worked hard on, and are therefore more likely to give it a try. You can even turn mealtime into a fun bonding activity for the whole family!
Supplement With Immune Boosters
While a well-balanced diet is important, you can add additional immune protection by working in helpful supplements and immune boosters as well. These can help add additional insurance in case your kids don’t finish their meals and can give you peace of mind knowing that no matter what, they’ve received the nutrition they need. Some supplements to consider include:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B12
You can assess your child’s diet and identify areas where they could benefit from a boost, and tailor the supplements accordingly. Be sure that your children are getting their daily value of all the essential vitamins and minerals.
Improve Your Child’s Gut Health
A healthy gut is one of the most important benefactors to a healthy immune system. Implementing high fiber fruits and vegetables into your child’s diet will boost their gut health immensely. Probiotics for kids are also a great addition as they work to support both your child’s digestion and immunity.
Encourage Mindfulness & Find Time To De-Stress
This may come as a surprise, but feeling stressed out all the time can actually harm your immunity and make you more susceptible to getting sick. Children today are dealing with a wide variety of stressors, from school stress to peer pressure to constant exposure to social media. In order to ensure good mental health and, therefore, good physical health, you may want to encourage mindful habits and practice strategies for de-stressing with your children. This will serve them well not only now, but in the future, too. For example, you can introduce meditation and quiet time for ten or twenty minutes each day as a way to help them clear their heads and get re-centered. You can also help them practice other de-stressing techniques, including deep breathing and practicing calming hobbies, like reading books. It’s also important to ensure that children get enough exercise, as this has been shown to rebalance hormones and significantly reduce stress levels.
Promote Good Hygiene Habits
Finally, as any parent knows, it can be difficult to rein kids in to wash up when they’re out playing in the dirt all day. However, practicing good hygiene is essential, not only to current comfort, but to long-term health as well. If your kids don’t bathe regularly enough, for instance, they may be leaving themselves more exposed to germs they happened to get from the playground or from a friend’s house. The same is true of dental care. One way to promote good hygiene habits is to demonstrate them yourself and practice them together as a family. When your children see you washing your hands while preparing a meal or after coming indoors after spending some time outside, they’re more likely to imitate the modeled behavior. Be sure to explain the importance of hygiene to them so that they understand why it’s important to look after themselves. The more you talk about it openly and practice it, the more good hygiene habits will become second nature to your children.
With cold and flu season right around the corner, you may be wondering how you can help your children stay safe and healthy all winter long. Kids are regularly exposed to germs and viruses, and don’t have the same immunity that adults with more exposure do. Simply tweaking a few daily routines and implementing some straightforward strategies now can make a big difference in helping your kids prepare for the upcoming season. If you’re hoping to boost your kids’ immunity, keep these top tips in mind and you can go into the fall and winter months knowing that your kids are as healthy as possible.