Whether it is December or April, I am always worried about my children’s immune system. With so many infections doing the round this season, here are 10 tried and tested natural ways to boost your kids immunity. Don’t forget to try the last bit. It does wonders!
I have school going children now, but the tips I share below will definitely work for babies and toddlers too. Healthy routines and habits, make a world of difference in children. As they grow up, these habits become a way they function. A child who is trained from a young age to choose healthy will grow up practicing it for life.
My children are in Kindergarten and Primary classes now but all three of them are delicate little things. They are very active and really good at studies but come flu season or sandstorm, my kids catch the cold even before someone sneezes in the room. We have been trying extra hard to ensure that the children follow proper care in and outside the home.
Related reading: Keep your Family Healthy in Sandstorm Season
Below I am listing 10 things that are natural and very effective in helping boost the immune system. Just by being a little conscious, we can help our children be stronger from the inside.
10 Natural Ways to Boost your child’s Immunity
The best way to boost your child’s immune system is to ensure that they are eating healthy, getting enough rest and are active. A child who is plopped up on a couch with a gaming console in hand munching away at whatever he fancies, will no doubt grow up to be a couch potato.
No amount of vitamins or supplements (even herbal ones!) can help your child if he is filling himself with foods that have zero nutritious value. The first step to support your family’s health is to offer them, healthy home made food.
Related reading: How to save time in the kitchen when you have little babies.
But… germs are all around so we have to support their immune system by taking precautions and offering a little extra too. Here are 10 ways I help my children stay healthy.
1. Hand Washing
Have you noticed how during the summer, kids hardly fall sick but as soon as school starts, they start sniffling? It is true that schools start in Fall when the weather changes but … where are those germs really coming from?
Yes, from outside! From the air, from surfaces, shaking hands and tumbling around everywhere… when one kid falls sick, you can bet the rest will follow. So, it is a good idea to ‘wash’ off those germs before they spread!
Make it a rule that children (and adults!) wash their hands as soon as they get home. Whether it is from school, the park, a shopping trip or even mere running next door to the neighbors. Get them in the habit of washing their hands every time they come from outside. Remind them to wash their hands before meals and snacks too.
I know how we mothers seem like we are nagging all the time but, you don’t have to sound like that. Just a cheerful ‘What do we do before we eat..?‘ is enough. In time, they will remember to do it themselves.
Please note: Gel hand sanitizers cause more harm than good. It has become a culture at schools and around town to pump a few drops and rub that ‘alcohol’ on your palms. Do you really think a drop or two can kill 99% germs on your hands? 🙂
2. Shower every day
While we are on the topic of cleanliness, let me confess that I swear by showers and quick baths during every season! It has been proven by research that a quick shower everyday can actually improve your immune system.
Children and adults who bathe or shower everyday fight off infections faster. They are more alert, make good fat, it increases their circulation so showering helps them relax and calm down.
In my culture, babies are massaged and bathed every day so that they are stronger. Here in Saudi Arabia, I find that kids fall sick because of less humidity in the air. We are in ACs all day and hardly get any sunlight or fresh air. Whenever my kids catch a cold or persistent cough, a warm bath before bed or a quick shower helped improve their condition.
If you are essential oils person, you must know about Magnesium baths. We all lack in Magnesium. I love the idea of adding Magnesium salts to baths. There are many benefits of it.
3. Yoghurt – probiotics.
I come from a culture where people think it is good luck to begin the day with yoghurt. That may be superstitious but it is no secret that probiotics boost your immune system.
Probiotics don’t just support your tummy health but help in strengthening the flora in your gut as well, which in turn helps you fight infections. So… at least a spoonful or two of yoghurt with or without fruit, is a great start to the day. Some easy ways to present them to kids is through fruited yoghurts, smoothies, in cereal or even as it is.
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4. Orange juice
Vitamin C is the best way to fight colds. I know how hard it is for kids to eat a whole orange but orange juice is so easy and tasty to gulp down. The fibre in oranges helps aid your child’s digestion as well. A glass of orange juice after a high protein meal is a good way to absorb the iron from it.
Constipation causes lots of ailments in not just kids but adults as well. Runny nose, cough, indigestion related sleep trouble, potty training hurdles… I have fought all of these with orange juice. No kidding.
If your child is less than one year old, or dislikes the taste of oranges (I had one toddler like that!) mix half and half with water. Some children are very sensitive- the citrus can irritate their stomach lining. So if you find them getting loose motions or they are fussy, it is a good idea to stop completely.
5. Take them out to play.
Children who run and jump wild in fresh air are less likely to develop respiratory ailments. Let them exercise those muscles and fill their lungs with fresh air.
Every Friday morning, we load the kids and head to the beach. It is a great way to start the weekend relaxing and energizing as a family.
6. Adequate Sleep and rest
Let them sleep on time and get a good night sleep. Most kids drop their naps well before they hit preschool but it is very important that they nap for at least 45 minutes through the day. It refreshes their mind and helps them concentrate on play and studies.
If you find that they will not sleep then send them to bed early. Make sure they are sleeping the required hours for their age.
7. Give them proteins…
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Chicken soup for the soul… you know? Not just chicken and meat but in general proteins are a great way to fight infections. Proteins provide long lasting energy.
When you give your child a high protein breakfast followed by a protein snack for school, he will come home with more energy to play with you. I have tested this with three kindergartners.
A child who has enough energy when he comes home will eat that lunch you made him. He can carry on for the rest of the afternoon and then evening till bedtime. As I said before energized kids are better at fighting germs.
Need examples of proteins for kids? Try chick peas, bulgur wheat, pulses/dals, Tofu, green peas… are great options for those who prefer a veg diet. This post has some good examples at the end.
8. Wash beddings and curtains often
Kids rooms are messy places. They jump on their beds, sometimes they sneak snacks in there and then those toys and soft cuddlies… they are all places for germs to hide. Wash the bedding and curtains often. Give those toys a tumble too.
If your child is prone to frequent cough, get rid of those cushions, rugs and soft toys. My eldest had bronchitis for years until we realized it was his lovey blanket and soft teddy bear that was always with him. I did wash it often but mink blankets are really not good, you know.
9. Turmeric – the natural antibiotic.
The benefits of Turmeric are many. Again this is from my culture- a glass of warm milk with a pinch of turmeric, does wonders to your immune system. It is a tradition in the Indian sub-continent to drink turmeric milk at bedtime in winter. I have found this to be so helpful with colds.
Turmeric only dissolves in fats so boil the milk, add a pinch of turmeric and stir well. Let your child drink the warm yellow milk before bed.
You can also try raw Turmeric. It looks a lot like ginger but is orange in color. I make a concoction by grating a teaspoon of ginger, a teaspoon of raw turmeric, a small stick of cinnamon, 4-5 peppercorns, seeds from 4 cardamoms in hot milk. Let it all simmer for 5-10 minutes. Cool and serve. You can add honey to it but make sure the milk has cooled down. It tastes warm and soothing- perfect for a winters.
10. Hug them.
I let my kids crawl into my bed at night. Through the day, they are rubbing against me or cuddling while I read or work. Four kids later, I have learnt that they will not always want me this way. My eldest is 11 years old. He already thinks he is a big boy.
People need at least 3 touches during the day to be healthy and stress free. Even adults need those hugs. My experience is that when my kids get lots of physical touches like when I am squeezing their shoulders, tickling, pecking light kisses on cheek before school or brushing their hair with my fingers while they sit next to me, they are the happiest. They feel loved, cared, confident and carefree. Happy children fight germs more effectively.
Did you hug your child today? Do it again.
These are my 10 natural ways to boost kid’s immunity. I’d love to hear your views on the topic. <3