How to Keep Your Children from Getting Sick
With all of the germs shared at preschool, daycare, and playgroups, small children tend to get sick more often. On average, children have around 6-10 colds per year, and some have even more. While building their immune system is important, you don’t want to have a sick child all the time. Use these tips to keep your child healthy all year.
Diet and Vitamins
It is important to give your child a diet rich in a variety of vitamins if you want them to stay healthy. Giving them a daily vitamin is helpful, but your child also needs to get nutrients from what they are eating as well. This means that your child needs a diet with a lot of fruits, lots of vegetables, and little sugar. Children are notorious for disliking healthy foods, so you may need to try these tricks:
- Hide vegetables in foods they enjoy like putting broccoli or peas in their macaroni and cheese.
- Serve fruits and vegetables before any other food at dinner. This is when your child is the hungriest. They might be more willing to try something that they might otherwise reject.
- Allow your child to shop with you and pick out the fruits and vegetables you will eat.
- Create a rule where your child must at least try a bite of something before they can move on to the next course. Eventually, they may develop a taste for that particular item.
A diet with a lot of sugar could mean lower immune health. Unlike many animals, humans do not process sugar into Vitamin C. A diet rich in sugar is usually low in Vitamin C. This vitamin is key to immune support which keeps you from getting sick. You should try and keep your child away from sugar as much as possible.
Adding probiotics to your child’s diet can also help them stay well. Much of your immune health is based in your gut which is covered with good bacteria. These bacteria help fight infections to keep you from getting sick. Probiotics boost your gut bacteria and will, therefore, help your child stay well. You can purchase probiotic powders to add to their food or drinks. You can also add probiotics to their diet by purchasing products such as yogurts and fermented teas like kombucha (though kids might not like the taste of kombucha…..mine certainly didn’t!).
Probiotics supplements for kids are also common nowadays.
Get Plenty of Fresh Air
Staying cooped up inside too long can have a negative impact on your child’s health. Viruses, dust, and indoor pollutants can attach themselves to anything inside or even just settle in the air. This makes it easy for your child to constantly breathe them in or come into contact with them. Getting plenty of fresh air can mitigate this problem. If it is not too hot or cold, consider opening the windows every day to ventilate your home. In colder months, try to at least go for a walk every day or play outside for a little bit. This will allow you to still refresh your child’s body with fresh air.
Get Plenty of Rest
Your child needs to get enough sleep every day to keep their immune system healthy. A tired child is more susceptible to viruses and germs. They are likely to get sick easier. Young babies need to get around 14-15 hours of sleep a day, and toddlers still need around 12-14 hours per day. You can ensure your child gets plenty of rest by:
- Having them take a daily nap.
- Providing a calm bedtime routine at the same time every night.
- Eliminating screen time close to bedtime. It can be disruptive to a child’s ability to fall asleep.
Practice Proper Hand Washing
One of the most obvious ways of keeping germs away is by washing your hands. Children tend to not wash their hands well. They don’t completely wash their whole hands or they go too quickly. To ensure your child is properly washing their hands, have them:
- Use soap every time.
- Look to make sure they are thoroughly washing each hand.
- Sing the “Happy Birthday” song before finishing to ensure they’ve washed long enough.
Teach Your Child About Germs
Finally, you should teach your child how to stay away from germs. Let them know they need to keep their hands off of their faces. They come into contact with viruses by touching surfaces with germs. When they touch these surfaces and then touch their face, they are allowing these viruses to more easily enter their body through their eyes and nose.
You should also discourage your child from sharing food, lip gloss, cups, toothbrushes, and other personal items. This is an easy way to spread viruses and germs from one person to another. While it may be fun to share an item with a best friend, it is not a healthy practice. Make sure your child is equipped with their own items so they can avoid this.
You will not be able to prevent every cold or virus your child comes into contact with. Your child will get sick every now and then. However, you do not want them to spend their childhood being sick. So, by practicing healthier habits, you can reduce illnesses and spend more time enjoying childhood fun.
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