So we’re in our second week of school and my little punk ALREADY has his first cold of the school year. Ugh! So I can’t tell you how to keep your kiddos from getting cold completely. The thing is that kids are like little petri dishes – they carry around all kinds of germs and share them with each other as if they were crumbly powdered donuts, sprinkling bacteria and viruses all over the place. Hand washing is primary, as is teaching your kiddo to use tissues, discard them properly and wash their hands (again)…oh and how to cough and sneeze into their elbow crook. But I have a 2 year old. He’s just starting to master blowing his nose, but mostly uses the back of his hand or my pants leg to wipe his snotty nose and he can’t reach the sink yet. Warding off colds when kids go back to school can be a challenge!
In addition to teaching kids to wash hands and vaccines, is there anything we can do nutritionally? YES! Of course. What we eat can go a long way toward supporting a healthy body, including a strong immune system. Here are the top strategies for keeping my kiddo healthy:
- Encourage lots of fruits and veggies, which are filled with vitamins and minerals. If your kiddo loves fruits and vegetables that’s awesome and easy. If not, keep trying – it can take a dozen or more introductions before kids will try new foods. Meanwhile, sneak them into smoothies, oatmeal, muffins, pancakes, and anywhere else you can think of.
- Feed probiotic rich foods. Probiotics have been proven to help reduce ear infections, stomach bugs (ex. rotavirus), and improve digestion. Most kids love yogurt, making it easy to get in the good bugs. A supplement is also something to consider, though there’s not a lot of evidence supporting its use in prevention of cold and flu.
- Push fluids – especially water. Being well hydrated is important for maintaining good health. And if/when your kiddo picks up a bug, it will really help manage symptoms.
- Ensure adequate sleep. Many children need upwards of 10 hours of sleep a day, but aren’t getting it.
I hope these tips help you keep your kids healthy this year…and that I can keep mine healthy too!