One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to make sure that your child has a strong immune system. Especially in recent months, the importance of practicing good hygiene and fostering healthy habits has never been greater. Here are a few ways to increase immunity in children that you can start doing right away.
Make Sure They’re Getting Enough Shut-Eye
Whether you’re five or fifty-five, getting enough sleep can make a big difference in your overall health. Young children should sleep between 9 and 13 hours a night. For teens, at least 8 hours is recommended. Poor sleeping habits have been linked to weaker immune systems and a higher risk of infection – so be sure to enforce “lights-out” time early and often.
Fruits and Veggies are a Must
Diet is another major factor in promoting a strong immune system. Vitamins C, E, and A are necessary to staying safe and healthy. That means fewer processed foods and lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Here are some good options if you’re wondering where to start:
- Citrus fruits and strawberries are your go-to snack for important vitamins
- Yogurt is great for a healthy breakfast or light snack – just check the label to make sure you’re buying the kind that contains live cultures and probiotics
- Nuts are heavy in protein and make a great snack!
- Lean meats are another great source of protein – and zinc, which strengthens your immune system
Get Them Moving!
More and more, experts are convinced of the many benefits of regular exercise starting at a young age. One of the easiest ways to increase immunity in children is to get them up and active. Getting that blood pumping has been linked to a greater number of antibodies and other important cells in the body.
Plus, regular exercise will make your child feel healthier and more energized on a daily basis. Some physicians recommend exercising as a family so that you can provide a role-model for good fitness early on.
Practice Good Hygiene
You might be surprised by how many infections and illnesses could be prevented by simply washing your hands. A great way to keep your child healthy is to promote regular handwashing, especially after coughing, sneezing, or using the bathroom. Make sure they’re using lots of soap and water and washing for at least 20 seconds!
Don’t Skip Out on Vaccinations!
Remember to get your child their yearly flu shot, especially if they have asthma or other underlying health conditions. Other important immunizations, like the mumps vaccine, start at an early age and keep your child safe all through adulthood.
Of course, these tips only cover the basics. It’s important to consult with your local health professional to find the right strategies for your own family. But by ensuring that your child maintains good habits around sleep, eating, exercise, and basic hygiene, in addition to getting them immunized, you’ll be well on your way to fostering a resilient immune system.