In many parts of the world it’s back to school time and that means more colds, flues and other nasty bugs.
Sniffles, sneezes, and gastrointestinal bugs creep into our kid’s lives and affect all of us. Many parents assume that colds, flu, and other common illnesses are simply part of the curriculum when they send their children off to school or daycare. That’s not surprising since some kids can “catch” 5 to 10 colds per year but yet there are others we get through with a lot less. Prevention is the key here.
What are some things you can do to help lessen the threat of these intruders?
There are many, but a few that are my top favorites are:
1) Sleep! Not getting enough sleep can suppress the immune system and increase the odds of catching a cold or the flu. People who are sleep deprived develop fewer antibodies and are more prone to chronic inflammation.
Set up a regular bedtime and stick to it! Routine is very helpful for children and sleep allows time for the body to clean up intercellular waste, rest, rejuvenate, heal, and restore resources. Sleep is absolutely vital for children’s health and ours!
2)Washing Hands Frequently!
Lathering up is one of the simplest ways to prevent sharing pathogens. Most upper respiratory viruses are spread by direct contact and something as simple as sneezing into your hand and then touching a doorknob, desk,computer keyboard, or phone could spread the bugs. In turn touching all of those things means kids need to wash their hands often to remove these pathogens. Supporting Article
What’s the best way to wash up? Just lathering up with good old-fashioned soap and water will do the trick and most importantly doing it often. Teach your kids to wash their hands and to make it a habit. For example my daughter is now in the habit of not only washing her hands before meals but also when we come home from shopping or other events. As soon as we arrive home, we wash our hands.
See food as medicine. We all know it is often tough to get kids to stay on course with health eating so if we see it like a game of trying to get more nutrition in than the negative nutrition we can work at tipping the scales in favor of our children’s health.
It it is also a good idea to teach our children to listen to their bodies and monitor how they feel after eating certain foods. In this way they can tap into what the body intuitively knows is beneficial for it or what foods burden it and make it sluggish.
Here is a former blog post I wrote on kids and dehydration but it applies to nutrition as well. There are lots of useful tips in here and I encourage you to enJOY this post as well. Link to Dehydration Post
Lower your child’s stress load. Stress comes in many forms. For example video games can cause stress. Too much screen time and stimulation can cause stress. Arguing in front of your children causes them extreme stress!
Help your child to lower their stress levels by spending time in nature with them, unplugging, reading books, reassuring them that the world is a friendly place and that they are loved.
Another thing that helps lower your children’s stress load is by making sure YOU are happy in your life and that you are doing things to support yourself. In life we all want to see our loved ones content and children are no different. If they see their parents as resentful or burdened they feel it. Be sure to teach them that happiness is important and that it is a choice. Choose Happy always! 🙂
With all of the toxins we are exposed to, the lack of nutrients in our soils, the presence of heavy metals in our environment and in the world, and the inability to eat adequate amounts of plant based foods on a daily basis, it is mandatory in my opinion, that children supplement with a good multi vitamin as well as a good source of Vitamin C to keep them on top of their immune game. Other supplements that are important as well are Zinc, Selenium, Omega III’s and Probiotics.
As a Board Certified Nutritionist I work will many sources of supplements and I would be happy to make individual recommendations to anyone who reaches out to me. I will though share here for everyone, my favorite kid and adult friendly source of Vitamin C that is delivered in an Isotonic form.
Here is are the links for more info:
I hope you have found this helpful and useful. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have.
Maggie Holbik.com is a Board Certified Nutritionist and Certified Life Coach who also runs a Facebook Page to support Parents. If you would like to follow along there, here is the Moms For Kids FB