A Few Important Steps to Keep Kids Healthy Through the Winter
As the temperatures begin to drop, sleeping under warm and cozy blankets and dressing in layers just won’t be enough for your little ones. Keeping your kids healthy through the winter is no easy task. From more time spent indoors at schools and playschool, to cold winter temperatures, there are simply more stresses placed on the body than there would be during warmer months. Here are a few important steps you can take to help keep little ones’ immune systems firing on all cylinders this winter.
1. Feed them immunity-boosting foods and nutrients
Pack their meals with nutrient-rich foods that help boost immunity and prevent sickness.
- Use Vitamin C-rich fruits such as oranges, naartjies, paw-paw, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi fruit and mango and veggies such as red and green bell peppers, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.
- Turmeric, garlic and ginger also boost your child’s immunity during the flu season,
- Use foods rich in antioxidants, like dark berries, kidney beans, pecans, artichokes and coriander.
- Vitamin D is also a key nutrient for immune health. Vitamin D is difficult to get from diet alone and most kids don’t get enough sunlight exposure to stimulate the body’s own production, so consider giving your child a daily Vitamin D supplement to ensure their needs are met.
2. Simmer bone broth ALL WINTER LONG
As soon as June rolls around stick a pot of bone broth stock on and let it run all winter.
- Bone broth is full of gut healing gelatinwhich helps lower inflammation and increases immune function. It’s highly absorbable and nutritionally dense making it a perfect winter tonic.
- Use bone broth instead of water to make rice, quinoa and cous cous.
- Make weekly soups, soups are a great way of including nutrient rich foods into a meal without the little ones actually seeing all the veggies. Use the bone broth to enrich your soups.
3. Give them a daily probiotic
The tummy is full of 100 trillion bacteria, most of them are good guys, and friendly bacteria like probiotics offer important support to your child’s developing digestive and immune systems. Here’s the problem: the only food source of live probiotics most kids get in their diet is yoghurt, and most yoghurt made for kids is loaded with sugar. Plus, the strains of bacteria used to make yoghurt have not necessarily been proven to deliver health benefits. A probiotic supplement can easily be added to your child’s diet ensuring they get the necessary bacteria’s.
4. Teach them how to wash their hands
Children are told repeatedly to wash their hands, but a lot of them don’t know the proper way to do it. The general rule is to rub hands with soap under warm or cold water for at least 20 seconds, rinse well with water, shake and dry. Hand sanitisers are a great way to ensure clean hands when water and soap is not on hand.
5. Show them how to cover a cough
Make sure your child knows to cough or sneeze into their elbow, sleeves or a tissue instead of their hands.
6. Get enough sleep
Make sleep a priority. Sleep is the way our bodies repair and heal during the night so make sure your children get enough sleep. Younger children should be getting between 10 and 13 hours of sleep a night, while other family members should get at least seven.
7. Protect your child’s schedule
Stress is one of the biggest immune system busters around. When the body is in a stress response the immune function declines. Keep a healthy stable schedule for your child.
8. Practice gratitude
Over and over again research is finding that gratitude practices actually increase immune function! Help children to give thanks to their bodies on a daily basis for being so strong and healthy. Our bodies are always listening to our thoughts and appreciate our thanks and gratitude.