When it comes to keeping a busy family schedule, few things disrupt that schedule like a sick child. Caring for your little one can be rough, but missing work only makes it worse! Little bodies seem to catch every cold and virus out there and that’s pretty normal. This time of their lives is all about building antibodies and immunity so they don’t catch every cold and virus when they are adults. But, we can still help them build their immunity and avoid down time too. Here are 4 ways to build your child’s immunity to reduce sick days for them – and for you.
The dry winter months dry out our skin and our tissues too. Dry sinuses are a cold or flu germ’s favorite place to hang around. The dry surface makes it easy for the germs to stick. Running a cool mist humidifier whenever you’re home and especially at night, will help keep your body’s tissues damp and will reduce how many of those icky germs can stick around
Making sure that your kids are rested will help their bodies be strong and able to fight off colds and the flu. Moving bed time a little earlier can help them to get that much needed shut eye. Build a routine and schedule for your family that takes into account bed times for everyone in the family and then stick to them.
On the flip side, make sure everyone is getting good exercise. It can be harder in the winter months so look for indoor activities that you and your kids can participate in. Or embrace the season and work in some sledding, fort building and snow ball fights. Getting exercise together reduces the stress that can make our bodies more susceptible to colds and the flu.
Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables will increase the germ fighting ability of your child’s body. Foods high in vitamin C such as strawberries, oranges, carrots and peppers are a natural way to pump up your immune system.
Eat more probiotics. 70% of our immune system is in our stomach so keeping it happy will keep you and your kids healthy. Taking probiotic supplements or just eating foods high in the good bacteria such as Greek yogurt, kimchi and pickles will keep your taste buds happy and your belly too.
So we all know you need to wash your hands – but we just don’t do it enough. Have everyone wash their hands as soon as they come in the door. Let your kids pick out a favorite bottle of soap to encourage them to use it – often. Discourage your kids from putting their hands in their mouth, nose, and rubbing their eyes. These are all vulnerable areas where germs can invade.
Not only is washing hands important, but lunch boxes are too. Toss the box into warm soapy water or even the washing machine once a week. Consider throwing in backpacks too if they get handled often at school.
Leave shoes outside of the house. If that’s not possible, remove shoes as soon as you step into the house and then put them away – don’t wear them around.
Lastly, if anyone has been sick – toss their toothbrush. The little cleaners are often harboring a lot of nasty germs.