Building Immune System Habits Early With Your KidsSeptember, 2021
Good immune habits are exactly what they sound like; habits that can have a positive effect on your immune system. And THAT has a positive effect on your overall health because your body is better equipped to fight off colds and flus.
As important as good immune habits are for adults, they are equally important for children. Learning good immune habits at a young age means they are more likely to keep doing those things as they grow up.
But how do you engage kids in good immune habits? Here are a few thoughts to get you started.
Kids may not have 9-5 jobs or bills to pay, but they can get stressed out too. Helping them manage their stress in healthy ways when they’re young will encourage healthy ways to cope with the demands of life as they get older.
- Meditate and Breathe: Breathing exercises and meditation aren’t just for yogis! Set aside some time each day to spend together, working on breathing and meditating. Even 15 minutes can make a world of difference!
- Dance it Out: Kids don’t have to take a class to enjoy dancing (though they can!). Just put on music that makes your kids feel happy, and presto! You’ve got a fun way to stress less and get the kids moving.
- Go For a Walk in Nature: There’s nothing like connecting with nature to ease the stress from the soul. A little walk can go a long way for kids… and it’s just one activity that can help them reduce their stress.
- Hugs and Talking it Out: As adults, we know all too well how stressful it is to keep things bottled up. Never underestimate the power of a good old-fashioned hug and encouraging kids to talk about their feelings.
We all know kids need sleep. We also know it can be harder with so many distractions around them.
- Build a consistent bedtime routine: A routine isn’t just about how quickly kids go to sleep. It’s about the quality and length of that sleep.
- No screen time before bed: Screens and sleep don’t mix well, causing less sleep and less quality of sleep. That’s a double-whammy for growing kids.
- Encourage other screen-free activities: Bedtime doesn’t have to mean boring-time. Transitioning between the busy activities of the day and sleep, screen-free, will help guide them into a restful, refueling slumber.
Exercise impacts so much of kids’ health. It’s important for their heart, bones and lungs, but also improves their mood and self-esteem, and can help boost the immune system.
- Active kids sleep better: It’s likely no surprise, but exercise can lead to longer, better sleep.
- Different Ages, Different Exercise Requirements: For young kids, it’s about being active throughout the day. For older kids, it’s about more rigorous activities planned for about 60 minutes a day.
- You Don’t Need a Lot of Room: Exercise comes in many forms. With a little imagination, you can make any space a place for kids to be active – and have fun!
Food is fuel for kids. More than just energy and growth, the right foods can have a positive effect on immune health.
- Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are well-known for promoting heart health.
- Fermented Foods: From yogurt to cheese, fermented foods contain probiotics and prebiotics that boost immune AND digestive health.
- Nuts and seeds: Not all kids can safely eat nuts and seeds. Those who can, will find some additional health benefits.
What do all these tips have in common? They work better when parents and guardians participate along with the kids. Suddenly, things go from feeling like a chore to feeling like family time, all while instilling healthy habits that will benefit them throughout their lives.