We’re officially in the BERs! That means the start of fall and winter, including the illnesses colder months bring. Preparing your child’s immune system NOW for the coming cold and flu season is imperative! So we created a list of some great immune booster ideas for kids to help keep your children healthy all year long.
6 Tips to Better Immune Support for Kids
Kids are notorious for bringing home germs. But a few healthy immune booster tips for kids can make the fall and winter months less sickly for everyone.
1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is extremely important to maintaining good health and strong immunity. When our children are run down and tired, they become more vulnerable to becoming sick.
School-aged children need up to 11 hours of sleep. And preschoolers need a total of 13 hours of sleep per day.
Getting kids on a healthy sleep schedule is important and relatively easy. Try starting bedtime preparation 15 minutes earlier each week until you have reached an appropriate bedtime.
2. Teach Hand Washing
Research shows the most effective way to prevent the spread of illness is to wash your hands. And the best hand washing habits start at home.
Make sure your children wash their hands often and with soap. They need to understand the importance of clean hands before eating, after using the bathroom, and arriving home from school.
For kids, regularly washing their hands can be a fun and entertaining activity – and, it provides a chance for them to take an active role in their own self-care. Children should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or about how long it takes to sing “Happy Birthday.”
3. Teach Kids to Cough into Elbows
It is equally as important to teach your child to cover their mouth before sneezing or coughing. A sneeze can travel as fast as 50 miles per hour and contain 100,000 germ particles.
When you sneeze or cough (or even wipe your nose with your hand), the droplets are transmitted to things like door knobs, remotes, kitchen counters, and other surfaces that people around you are likely to also touch.
It is age appropriate to explain to your kids and teach them that coughing into their elbow can keep germs from spreading to others. Good hygiene is the key to decreasing the spread of germs, especially in the classroom.
4. Feed Snacks with Immune Boosting Properties
Certain fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients, such as vitamin C and carotenoids, which can help boost your child’s immune system.
Strawberries, blueberries, oranges and orange juice, green beans, and carrots contain antioxidants and phytonutrients that can increase your child’s production of infection-fighting white blood cells and interferons to help fight off illness.
Pro Tip: Let your child pick out their own healthy snacks. Allowing them to become involved in their own diet may motivate them to try new things.
5. Bring Your Own Bottle
Water bottle, that is…
Children come off the playground or in from P.E. asking for water. However, while they take turns quenching their thirst at the water fountain, they are also sharing germs with classmates.
Packing them a water bottle not only helps to ensure they are hydrated, it also decreases the chance they will encounter germs.
6. Sanitize and Disinfect EVERYTHING
CLEAN! Yes, clean everything. And clean everything again!
So it might sound like a very obvious answer for keeping the germs at bay, but here are 3 must-know tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your cleaning frenzy!
Cleaning Tip #1: Have a Bathroom Plan of Attack.
Did you know your toothbrush holder is the 3rd germiest spot in the house?
Many of us have a bathroom hub! A spot where everyone’s toiletries live. Maybe it’s a cup or a drawer, but it’s where everything lives, including germs.
So eliminate areas where most germs are spread. It is not only the toothbrush holders, but the door knobs, faucets, and the toilet handle. And if your children are like mine, they also share (and fight over) the stool.
Cleaning Tip #2: Don’t Forget the Kitchen Sink!
Do you know the 2nd germiest place in the house? The kitchen sink!!
Meal times are prime time for sharing germs!
As we serve and prepare food, we also spread germs. And siblings are notorious for eating off each other’s plates. When attempting to prevent the spread of germs, it’s a good idea to feed your children at different times. And make sure to wash hands in between meals!
Cleaning Tip #3: Leave the Germs at the Door.
It is not called the mud room for nothing! Have you ever stopped to think about where your child’s backpack or shoes have been throughout the day? On the bus floor, classroom hooks (next to all the other germ-infested backpacks), bathroom floor (yikes), and then finally in your mud room or entryway. If your family is anything like mine, all the bags are piled on top of each other in the hallway or floor.
You can almost guarantee there are germs lingering on backpacks and shoes, so make sure your children separate backpacks and leave germy shoes in a central location. So disinfect (and even try washing) often during cold and flu season to keep germs from literally walking all over your house!
Final Thoughts on Immune Booster Ideas for Kids
Implementing a few simple rules and cleaning tips can really help build your child’s immune system and keep him or her healthy all year long!