Preschool is an exciting new world for our little learners! They meet new teachers, new friends, and unfortunately, they’re also exposed to a lot of disease-bearing microorganisms. Quite often, they catch a virus from their classmates. Here are a few natural ways for boosting a preschooler’s immune system.
Get enough sleep
During sleep, the immune system releases proteins called cytokines, which help fight infection or inflammation. According to Sleep.org, preschoolers (ages 3 to 5) need 10 to 13 hours of sleep a day, and older children (ages 6 to 13) need 9 to 11 hours of sleep a day.
Putting children to bed can be tricky. Stick to a fixed sleeping schedule. Establish a calming bedtime routine like reading a bedtime story or play lullabies. Make sure the bedroom promotes good sleep: hang dark curtains that block out light, remove distractions like toys, and don’t allow kids to bring their gadgets to bed. The blue light emitted by phones and tablets can disrupt sleep.
Give them a “rainbow diet”
A healthy diet plays a vital role in keeping our kids healthy. Give them lots of different-colored fruits and vegetables. Each color – red like tomatoes and bell pepper, yellow like lemons, green vegetables like broccoli, and orange like squash – gives different vitamins and minerals that keep the body strong and fight infection.
For picky kids, you can try chopping veggies into smaller bits and hide them in your dishes. Try to camouflage leafy greens in smoothies.
Choose whole, natural food
Whole foods (or food that is as close to their natural form as possible) will always have more nutrients. They have no additives and preservatives, and tend to have less sugar, fat and salt. If you can, get natural and organic produce and milk. These are free of chemicals like pesticides, fertilizers, and growth hormones that can linger in the body.
Give them probiotics for a healthy gut
Make sure to pay attention to your children’s gut health, too. A healthy gut helps their bodies absorb the nutrients and minerals from the foods you feed them. Many antibiotics also kill the “good bacteria” that maintain a healthy gut, so you need to restore its balance after your child recovers from disease.
Probiotics help promote gut health. You can find these in fortified milk, yogurt, pickles, miso, as well as some cheeses.
Stay away from sweets
“Eating or drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. This effect lasts for at least a few hours after downing a couple of sugary drinks,” says WebMD.
Satisfy your child’s sweet tooth with fruits, which are rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants. Pack and serve fruits like bananas or apples. You can also offer honey, which is a natural immune booster, or make cakes or pastries at home.
Spend more time outdoors
Inspire your children to spend more time outdoors whole year-round. Staying longer outdoors has a lot of benefits to the body. Apart from breathing in the fresh air, playing outdoors will allow your little one to load up on Vitamin D from the sun. All the cells in our body need Vitamin D, especially our immune system. Sunshine also boosts the mood, turning our crabby, whiny kids into happy little charmers.
Help your child manage stress
Children can get stressed from overstimulation or over-packed schedules. Child stress can manifest through crankiness, difficulty sleeping, change in appetite, or stomachaches. Help them deal with stress early by teaching them to practice yoga and meditation, to listen to music, or through keeping a journal. Playing outdoors can also help them ward off stress. Allow them to discover other activities that will help them relax. Also, make sure to limit their activities during school days so they can also have enough time for play and relaxation.
Protect your child’s health and growth
Every child needs a healthy and balanced diet, good sleeping habits, and a routine that includes both rest and sleep. These factors can protect his immune system and promote proper growth and development.
About The Writer
Vix Parungao is a stay-and-work-at-home mum who hails from Bulacan. She loves spending time outdoors with her 10-year old little man, Jared. She is a voracious reader, a big Harry Potter fan, and enjoys any book written by Mitch Albom and Paulo Coelho. In her free time, she dabbles into yoga and meditation, as well as spends her time marveling at awesome calligraphy and journaling work on Instagram. She is into mobile photography, mostly taking photos of flowers, of her little man, and anything that catches her fancy. She also occupies her time trading postcards with people from different parts of the world. Between childminding and chores, she shares parenting tips, products for children, as well as her adventures and various interests, on her blog, www.mum-writes.com.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.