No parent wants to see their child get hurt or become ill. With everything that’s been happening to the world, one of the best things we can do is to boost our children’s immune system.
“[It] is our best defense. Remember: Our bodies are actually made to fight off diseases,” Dr. Candy Drilon-Dalman, a Functional and Integrative Medicine physician and Medical Director of Centro Holistico shares in a previous SmartParenting.com.ph article.
How to keep your kids from getting sick
So that our kids stay strong, it’s important that we help them form habits and do simple lifestyle tweaks that ensure they are at the peak of health. Here are some of the things you can do so that your child can avoid getting sick:
1. Feed them healthy food.
A well-balanced meal starts with preparing the basic food groups — Go, Grow, and Glow foods — so that your child can have enough energy, and grow big and strong. (Click here for tips to achieve a balanced diet).
It’s also important for children to get the right vitamins and minerals that will boost their immune health. These vitamins include vitamin D, vitamin A, Zinc, Quercetin, antioxidants, vitamin C, and omega-3. (Click here for the kinds of food you should be eating to get these nutrients).
2. Consider probiotics.
Probiotics are essential for developing a strong immune system in kids and boosting good gut bacteria. It can be found in fermented food like miso, kimchi, atsara, kefir, and yogurt. Some milk drinks also contain this.
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Be sure to consult a doctor to know whether your child is getting the proper amount of “good bacteria.” According to functional medicine specialist Dr. Raymond Joseph Escalona, “Probiotics are like tourists — they stay in the tummy for two weeks [and] they have a good, positive effect on the tummy and the body and then they go away.”
3. Make sure they get plenty of sleep.
A good night’s sleep offers plenty of benefits to your child’s physical, emotional, and mental health. (Read all about it here.)
Your body also does very important work while you sleep. It’s when the body releases the human growth hormone, or somatotropin, which stimulates cell reproduction in the brain, organs, muscles, and bones. It also promotes cell repair — where the body heals and produces cell that fight off sickness.
4. Let them be active.
According to the World Health Organization, kids ages 3 to 4 years old should engage in different kinds of physical activity for at least 180 minutes every day. They should also have an hour dedicated to moderate to vigorous daily activities.
If you can’t help but stay indoors, encourage your kids to move by dancing, playing hula hoops, or jumping rope. You can also play games that involve movement like Bring Me! or Musical Chairs.
5. Practice hand hygiene and cough etiquette
The habit of handwashing has been called as the “best vaccine” — it’s a simple but highly effective way to prevent diseases caused by bacteria and viruses. Teach your kids to wash their hands (with soap!) at key times: before and after meals, after using the toilet, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
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Remind them to cough or sneeze in the crook of their arm and disinfect right away. These practices help minimize the spread of different kinds of contagious respiratory illnesses.
A pediatrician shares the food your child needs to eat to fight viruses and infections here.