Tips to keep your children healthy this winter

Winter can be brutal for the little ones especially when they’re in constant contact with viruses. Schools, daycare, caregivers and relatives with the sniffles are a constant threat but who wants to battle against the entire world in order to keep little ones healthy?

For younger children, their immune systems are just developing, therefore it is easy to contract any airborne transmitted diseases that are surrounding them.

After working in a childcare setting and witnessing all the different diseases in the past 12 years I can safely attest that strengthening your child’s immune system is the best way to combat flu and cold during the winter season. There are also bacterial diseases that often attack our little ones (such as pinkeye). These diseases/infections can be prevented and the info below will help with these issues.  For the most part, it is those tiny nasty creeper viruses that attack at the invisible level and when we realize what happened we are already sick.

 I am no doctor, however over the years I have seen and tried various things that have proven to be effective when it comes to preventing diseases or strengthening the immune system in the little ones.

  1. Good nutrition I’ve seen how the hearty eaters get sick less than the picky eaters. This might just be because all those goodies go to building a strong flora in the stomach which ultimately strengthens their ability to fight off bacteria. A very effective way to help sustain a hearty and healthy diet is to feed the little ones soups. If you think about it, soups are perfect, they are not dry or hard to chew and they are able to incorporate all the nutrients necessary for a healthy diet. The choices for soups in our center are: lentil soup, green split pea soup, chickpea soup, and mixed bean soup. You can add couscous, quinoa, squash, Sweet potato, and kale or pretty much any other vegetable on meat you like. For the babies unable to chew yet and the picky eaters you can liquefy the soup in your blender or take the liquefied half of the portion and mix it in with the other half of the soup so it gets a creamy/chunky consistency.
  1. Shower don’t just bathe children love bubble baths. It is not just convenient or entertaining but it’s soothing and relaxing, the perfect activity for pre-bedtime. Regardless during flu season if you do bathe your children make sure you rinse them well after you drain the tub, don’t just take them out. If you think about this your little ones have been sitting in the still water playing in all of their dirt and germs. 85{5f1d8eb2f7b1af66c1d7bc9ceb2aa281d02126e533e6634aa35bc96f7c5bd413} of water is this country is considered “Hard Water” and can contribute to the buildup of germs in the bathtub. You have to wash them off.
  1. No bar soaps easy peasy, bar soaps trap germs. For little hands, opt for a child friendly liquid soap and body wash.
  1. How about those sensitive skins? Water contains elements to disinfect and preserve the water clean, some of these elements dry the skin or contribute to break and irritate skin that is already dry. If your child is already dealing with sensitive skin or the infamous winter burn, which the result of cold days outside and dry nights inside due to their heating unit drying up the moisture in the air. You’re better off cleansing your child’s skin instead of bathing them. You can buy a cleanser such a Cetaphil or make your own natural cleansing formula:

         How to make natural cleansing wash:

  1. You can use washcloths or burping rags
  2. Mix 1 cup of filtered water
  3. 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  4. 1 teaspoon of baby oil or tea tree oil
  5. Dip the rags in the water and clean your baby when needed.
  1. Let them use mouth toys you want to protect the little ones from catching a disease so you run around chasing them in order to stop them from putting everything in their mouth. How long can you go running frantically after them and cleaning every single thing around the house? A little bit of germs never killed anyone, in fact our bodies are designed to exercise our immunity by practicing fighting off new bacteria that enters our body and causes unbalance. I am not suggesting you let them lick the bathroom floor but chewing toys here and there should actually contribute to strengthening their immune system. Make sure your house is mostly clean and encourage your family to always wash their hands after going to the bathroom, before preparing meals and at mealtimes.
  1. Plenty of water this is a given, water is just the best way to hydrate the body and cleanse the body and keep the body healthy. Always encourage your child to drink as much water as possible not just in the hot days but in the cool days as well. Just keep filtered water or bottled water at room temperature so it’s not too cold for their sensitive throats. Leave them everywhere in your house so they find one every time they turn the corner. Set an example and drink water during breakfast, drink water during snacks, drink water for lunch and dinner have your child witness you drinking lots of water and you will see he will soon follow your footsteps.
  1. Let them rest If your child gets the sniffles this one is very important. Our body has a natural way of healing itself but it can’t do that while you are exerting lots of energy throughout the day. The best way our body can process a cold or let a virus run its course is by slowing down, this helps with the healing process that’s why rest is the key. For children make sure you stick to their schedule, if they take a nap make sure they take it, if you can make bedtime a little earlier do so. Encourage naps or encourage quiet activities in which they don’t have to run around and they don’t have to exert a lot of energy, their bodies need those extra calories and extra energy to maintain their immune system.
  1. Wash up before coming in it is a given that adults and children go to different environments and they meet and mingle with different people that can be carrying a virus we are not aware of. At the end we all become germ carriers, we carry them in our hands, we carry germs in our clothes and in our shoes so when we come inside our house the best thing that we can do is take your shoes off right away, this way we don’t bring anything inside our house. Also make sure everybody takes their coats and shoes off and wash their hands and face.
  1. Make probiotics part of your diet: Some research has shown that consuming probiotics through foods or supplements can positively affect your child’s balance of bacteria, and consequently, his health.

“With probiotic foods, the marketing hype is way ahead of the science,” says Dr. Greer. But we do know that the best sources of friendly bacteria are dairy foods such as yogurt, kefir (which is similar to yogurt), and aged cheeses such as cheddar and gouda. These foods also are all heavy in vital nutrients like protein, calcium, and, in some cases, vitamin D, which are more reasons they’re smart food choices. Evidence has shown that the live cultures in yogurt can help kids (and adults) who have a lactose intolerance, which makes it hard for them to digest lactose and the natural sugar in milk. Regardless, when you’re shopping for yogurt, look for the Live & Active Cultures Seal, which was developed by the National Yogurt Association to identify a product that in theory will impart the most health benefits.

http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/feeding/healthy-eating/probiotics-the-friendly-bacteria/

  1. Cover their heads, cover their chest: This might be an old maids tale but I have seen it work. What does bundling up have to do with anything? Maybe there is a link between protecting certain areas of our body during the winter where our natural heat might escape. We always advise parents to dress their children with a onesie or undershirt as the first layer, even if you plan on putting on a long sleeve shirt, hoodie and the jacket you should always make sure there is something protecting the chest and back area. Same goes to the head, don’t leave the house without the hat! Also try to get a hat that covers the ears as well, shocking cold morning might cause ear pain in some cases.

Do you have more tips? Let us know in the comment field bellow.

Author:

I’ve had the pleasure to witness dozens of young lives grow and evolve in the past 15 years. The more I work with children the greater is my conviction that young lives are the key to our progress and evolution. Early childhood isn’t a glitch in our lives, it isn’t a bare memory that will fade eventually nor is the equivalent of a 5-year rule that life will start over after kindergarten. Early childhood is the time where brand new minds open up to understand this world. Children are hungry, they are born hungry, from the moment they take their first breath and remain hungry for the next 5 years. Our children are hungry for understanding, knowledge, they are hungry to understand social-emotional situations, themselves and others.

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