How To Help Support Your Child’s Immune System
Whether your kids are going back into a physical classroom or are continuing with virtual learning, supporting their immune systems is more important than ever. With the usual cold and flu season looming and the obvious coronavirus concerns, looking after our health is vital and even more so when it comes to your child’s health and immune system.
Children need certain vitamins and nutrients to help protect them against germs and bugs and to support their growing bodies, so here are some ways that you can help protect your child’s immune system and protect them against coughs and colds heading into the new school year.
Give them more fruit and vegetables
One of the best ways you can boost your child’s immune system is by giving them naturally-present vitamins and minerals in the form of fruit and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are packed full of all the vitamins and minerals we need day to day, with some more nutritious than others.
You should aim to get your child to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, but this is, of course, easier said than done! You could try and encourage them to eat more in the form of snacks, such as crudites and dip, fruit bags or carrot sticks, but if they’re not keen on eating them raw, you can always secretly bulk out meals with more vegetables to increase their intake. If you’re worried that your child may be lacking in certain vitamins and minerals, you can always look into health supplements, such as vitamin D supplements, in line with your GP’s advice.
Boost their sleep time
Studies carried out on adults have shown that a lack of sleep can make you more susceptible to bugs and illnesses as it has a direct impact on your immune system. When children are at school, the full-on activities and learning can make it more difficult for them to switch off when they get home and lead to sleep deprivation.
Children at school-age need around 10-13 hours of sleep a day, so you should try to establish a proper bedtime routine to help encourage them to sleep for the recommended time each night. Having a bath, getting into clean pyjamas and avoiding technology and devices for a few hours before bedtime will help your child to switch off.
Exercise as a family
Research has shown that exercise can boost the immune system, so to try and encourage your child to take on a lifetime fitness habit, you and your family should be role models when it comes to exercise. Try fun family-focused exercises at the weekend, such as bike rides, ice skating or roller skating, rock climbing and tennis are all fun activities which the whole family can get involved with and enjoy.
Teach them about germ spread
Following on from the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important now more than ever to teach your child about good hygiene habits in order to prevent the spread of germs. Make sure your child washes their hands frequently, with soap, for 30 seconds, especially after playing outside, before and after eating, using the bathroom and blowing their nose. Encourage your child to carry hand sanitiser with them and use it regularly if they can’t get to a sink and have their own pack of tissues in their bag at all times.