No one wants to have a sick child. No parent looks forward to the constant drippy noses, or the flu attacks that our children seem to pick up no matter how many precautions are taken. Yes you can stay away from other sick people, wash your hands, cover your mouth when you sneeze, but your child still finds a way to bring home some virus.
Most doctors say that having 6 to 8 colds, bouts of flu, or ear infections per year is normal for a child.
Children start off in the world with a brand new immune system. It is learning every day how to fight off viruses and bacteria. Our children getting sick can actually help strengthen their immune systems. No one wants to send their child into the world to get sick. There are some things you can start doing for your child to help boost their immune system and make it stronger.
Immune Boosting Tips
The first thing to do is look at their diet. There are many nutrients and vitamins that your child needs that can directly help boost their immune system. Vitamins and nutrients that have been shown to help boost the immune system are Beta-carotene, Vitamin C, E, and D, and Zinc.
Foods you should be filling your child’s plate with are fruits and vegetables. The goal is to get your child to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Good choices are citrus fruits, bananas, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. Spinach is also a very good immune booster.
Focus on whole foods. Your child will get more of the nutrients out of a whole orange, then just drinking orange juice. Feeding them 10 servings a day will also not give them a better immune system. Once their bodies get the daily requirement of the nutrients and vitamins the excess will be disposed of through their waste. Just keeping a good variety at hand will help for a healthy diet that will help boost their immune system.
Along with fruits and vegetables another healthy food to add to your child’s diet is yogurt. Yogurt is high in probiotics which are very beneficial to helping fight off infections. Along with yogurt your child should be having some kind of dairy or other source of calcium.
Lean meats such as turkey, chicken, fish, pork, and lean beef should also be in your child’s diet. Lean meats contain zinc which helps white blood cells fight off infections.
Whole grains and healthy fats can also help boost the immune system. Omega 3 fatty acids have shown to help white blood cells fight off infections as well. A good source of omega 3 fatty acids is walnuts. These can be sprinkled on top of yogurt, oatmeal, or mixed in a trail mix for your child to crunch on.
A healthy diet usually avoids processed foods, foods with added sugar, and unhealthy fats. This does not mean you shouldn’t allow your child to eat these fun foods every now and then. It means their whole foods, and healthy foods should be more than their unhealthy snacks and desserts.
Another thing you can do to help your child’s immune system is make sure your child is getting enough sleep. This can include their daily naps. For infants they may need up to 16 hours of sleep a day. Toddlers between 11-14 hours. Preschoolers 10-13. Teenagers 8-10. Of course the amount of sleep a child needs can vary from child to child.
If your child isn’t getting a nap anymore but is not getting adequate sleep at night, think about changing their bedtime to earlier. Other things to do is limit screen times before bed at least 1-2 hours. To help them be able to fall asleep easier. Take screens out of your children’s rooms as well. This helps them get better quality sleep. Quality is just as important as quantity.
Have a dedicated bedtime routine.
Exercise in children is just as important as exercise as adults. This does not mean you need to sign your toddler up for a yoga class. It just means they need to be active for about an hour every day. This is at least, more isn’t going to be bad for them. Exercise for your child could be playing at a playground, going for a walk, riding their bike, or hiking in the woods.
Stress can lead to a weakened immune system. So teaching your child to manage stress early will help boost their immunity in the long run. Allow them to have playtime and downtime where they aren’t expected to do things. Where they can rest and play on their own. Family time all together is also important.
Boosting your child’s immunity will not keep them from staying healthy all the time, but it certainly will cut down on the amount of colds they get throughout the year. Sickness can be very common in the first few weeks of school so starting to boost that immune system before they are in school can help them not get sick so often when being around so many children with so many different germs.
A healthy lifestyle early can lead your child into a healthy lifestyle for a lifetime.
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Tired of sick kids? Get some easy lifestyle immunity boosting tips here! #HealthSurgeon