As a parent in the midst of a global pandemic, you are most likely concerned about keeping your child or children healthy more now than ever before. While the novel coronavirus does not typically affect children too extremely, you certainly do not want your child to feel ill or become a carrier of the disease. Even being sick with a common cold during stay-at-home orders would not be fun for you or any of your family members! Luckily, there are many things you can do to boost your child’s overall health!
Keep reading to learn tips you can implement today to help your child stay healthy this summer!
Ensure Proper Nutrition
It may be tempting to let your child load up on sugar and junk food while they are stuck at home (and who doesn’t love the occasional snack-filled movie night?), but it’s important to make sure your child is receiving all the nutrients they need in order to keep their body strong.
If you’re a parent, you know the struggle of trying to get your kid to take medicine when they’re sick, and so adding vitamins to their routine might be the last thing you want to do. And that’s okay! Research shows that vitamins and minerals are actually more effective when they come from food sources, anyway. So, make sure your kid is eating enough protein, fruits and veggies, and healthy fats, and that should drastically improve your child’s health. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever let your child have dessert or a fun snack, but just make sure they are eating a balanced diet.
Of course, the most famous nutrient for supporting immune health is vitamin C, and that normally comes from dark leafy greens or citrus fruits. If your child is averse to these produce items, consider blending them up in a smoothie! Better yet, have them help you make the smoothie—it may be just the incentive they need to drink it up afterward.
Ensure Proper Sleep
You know by now that when you’re sick, it’s important to get as much sleep as possible to allow your body to heal. When your child is sick, you know you need to put them to bed earlier and make sure they take naps during the day, and because their body is fighting something, they don’t usually fight you too hard on that one.
Your child might not be too happy to hear this, but new research is showing that it’s just as important to make sure your child is sleeping consistently when they’re well as when they are sick in order to support their body’s natural defenses. This is because during sleep, your (and your child’s) body’s T cells have a better opportunity to do their job. When your child’s T cells are working their best, so is their natural defenses, so make sure they are still getting enough sleep every night (even as we transition into summer!).
Promote Regular Hand Washing
When your child is playing or doing online school inside all day, it may be difficult for them to remember to wash their hands. You may have had a pretty good system going for them when they were going to school every day—maybe you wouldn’t let them do anything in the house until they washed their hands, or you sent them to school with a little container of hand sanitizer to use before lunch.
Even though your child is mostly staying at home now, it’s still important that they keep up their hand washing habits. Studies show that up to 80% of diseases are transmitted through touch, so make sure they still clean their hands before meals and after using high-touch objects like computers and tablets. This may help keep them happy and healthy all year long.
When it comes to promoting overall health, in both adults and in children, exercise is pertinent.
Doctors have not yet settled on conclusive reasoning behind why exercise helps support the body’s natural defenses, but they have several theories. One is that heavier breathing can help flush bacteria out of your airways. Another is that increased blood flow helps white blood cells to be more effective. Whatever the reason, it’s important that your child still gets outside and runs around (socially distanced) during this time of crisis. Just make sure they wash their hands when they come inside!
Model a Healthy Lifestyle
It’s no secret that children look up to their parents. So, perhaps the best way to boost your child’s overall health is to also focus on your own. If you follow these steps along with your child, you’ll encourage them to follow suit. You’ll both be well on your way to maintaining a healthy body and healthy immune system for years to come.