Keeping kids healthy – “is that even possible?” I can hear a desperate mom asking as her child comes down with that thing again for the fourth time in three months.
Keeping kids healthy seems like a constant chore right? Can I get an amen? They seem to be coming down with something each time we turn our heads.
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Part of that is inevitable. Kids develop immunities as they get exposed, and sick, from contact with others or surfaces others have touched. It’s a known fact that for most, our immunity is strengthened with age.
But, there are ways to help our kids out in those years where getting sick seems like it’s part of their to-do list.*
*The following statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This products in this post are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
For what I do when my kids get sick with various ailments, make sure to check out this post and pin it for reference. Today’s post is going to be more preventative. What we do in our household to try and limit the amount our children get sick and to help them grow with a healthy immune system.
Keeping kids healthy – my daily routine
Health starts with what we do daily. How we fuel our bodies, what we eat and drink, our activity level, it all plays a part in our body’s immunity. Because of this, I have five ways that we as a family work to stay in tip top shape. While these suggests won’t prevent
illness, they will help maintain our body’s normal defense systems.
1. Eat nutrient dense foods
Kids are stinkers when it comes to eating. I could make hundreds of memes from my daughters face as she’s trying (or not trying) to swallow her dinner. But just as much as my children would love the chance to attempt to simply live off cookies and toast, it’s not a reasonable request. The body needs greens, and fruits, and protein to not only help it develop and grow, but to also build their immune systems.
It’s not fun sitting down to dinner with children literally crying at the table over the food in front of them. I’d be lying if I didn’t share that every now and again I give in and they get PB&J for dinner. Some nights I just don’t have the fight in me. But, for the most part I try really hard to make sure they’re eating a balanced-ish diet.
A small note on sugar:
Dang it tastes good but is so horrible for us all. Sugar is known to weaken the immune system. If there’s sickness going around and just in general, I try to limit the kids sugar consumption. I’ve been very bad at this lately, but need to make it more of a priority. Sugar also decreases the amount of good bacteria in the gut which helps fight off the crud out there. Which leads me into number two of our daily routine – supplements.
2. Daily supplements
Good probiotics are a must. They’ve been gaining in popular lately, and for good reason. On the standard American diet our guts are suffering. The gut is called the second brain, and there’s good reason behind that. Scientific America has a great older post on it. Ladies and gentlemen, when our gut is off, we are off, and so are our kids. Most of us don’t even realize it because we’ve felt this way for so long we don’t know what good is anymore. I could go off on a whole tangent about the gut, but I’ll keep it simple. Kids need probiotics in their diet. Period.
Don’t trust most probiotics
I don’t trust most of the ones on the shelf at local stores. Probiotics are alive and if not handled right can die before we consume them, making the point of it all moot.
Obviously most of you know how much I love my NOW® products. I’ve been to their facility, talked to Jim, the CEO, in person, and was able to tour and learn all about their quality and standards. I fully trust the products and that’s why I’ve switched a lot of my family’s supplements over to them. You can read about their probiotic purity here.
Kids daily supplements:
Each morning I give my kids organic yogurt and 100% grape juice, you can read about the juice thing here, along with their vitamins.
I also tend to switch things up different times of year. Tune back in this summer and fall for what I’m having them take then, and also follow me on IG for current updates. (stories are my jam)
What I’m tapering off of that I give my kids religiously though the winter season, is Elderberry syrup. NOW® just released their first ever Elderberry liquid™ and I’m on cloud nine! So excited they decided to start making it! I give elderberry to my kids from about October – April.
Check out the full line of NOW® Childrens health supplements here.
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3. Drink more water
No, not water in the form of sports drinks, juice, (especially artificially flavored ones with added sugar) or soda.
This is something I have instilled in my kids from an early age. We’ve never been a milk family. I don’t believe in a lot of dairy. From early on they got a small cup of grape juice in the morning, and water after that. And that’s just the way it was. I think doing this starting young has helped our family a lot. They simply don’t ask for anything else, because it’s not something we do.
Now, I realize for older kids who may be in a habit or see other kids at school having soda and juice it may be hard. Try making it into a game. They get a reward at the end of the week for filling out a water drinking log. Get creative in teaching kids that water is what we consume 90% of the time.
This is especially important for kids in sports. Also it’s good for oral health. Cavities thrive off the sugar in sports drinks, juice, and soda. Draw a line in the sand and stand firm, their little bodies will thank you for it.
For additional help, (for you and the kids) I have a whole post on hydration tips and trick here.
4. Be active
Activity is good for the body! It’s been proven time and time again. Get outside for evening walks, take the stairs, even with the kids. (in moderation of course!)
Instill in them young the importance, and fun, of being active. Activity can be hard in the winter months, especially if you live in a snowy climate. But I encourage you, make a date to get out with your kids and snow shoe, take a walk around the block, make forts in the yard. If you’re part of a gym see if they have children’s actives or sports during the cold months. Hibernation is for bears, not us or our kids.
5. Wash those hands
I recently did a germ science experiment with the kids where we swished our hands in water filled with glitter, then tried to rinse the glitter off with just plain water. It didn’t work. They had to use soap to remove the “glitter germs”.
Although hand washing is something that’s stressed highly, it’s also something I’ve noticed gets neglected in daily life. I see kids sneeze into their hands, whip them off on their shirts, and then dig into a communal bowl of chips. Instilling proper hygiene is huge in the transferring of bugs from one person to another. Little things like this matter, and should be talked about and re-taught every now and again.
As a side note – keeping our kids home that extra day after they’ve been sick and the symptoms are gone, but they’re still contagious is another great step in limiting the transfer of illness.
Bonus: Newer washers have what’s called the “sanitation cycle” which I use on anything the kids have gotten sick on. Whites I still bleach, but everything else gets tossed into the sanitation cycle which truly helps stop germs in their tracks. I also throw clothes that they’ve been sick on and I’m not in love with away. Unless its sheets or something they or I value, pitching it is not something I’m opposed to. Especially underwear. #alwaystransparent
It’s true! Most hand sanitizers don’t kill what you think they do!
Heads up, regular hand sanitizers you find at the stores do not kill Norovirus, (the stomach bug). So make sure to be using a hand sanitizer that does. One of the only ones I know of you can get off Amazon. Here’s the link. I keep one of these in my car, in my purse, and when my son starts school this fall he’ll have one in his backpack.
Will these tips really make a difference?
I guess you’ll have to implement them and see. It’s what works for us, and I’ll be the first to do a bit of bragging and say that (knock on wood) my kids are pretty darn healthy. When they get sick, which isn’t often, the recover fast. I know we’ll see more sickness this fall when my son starts kindergarten, and at that time I’ll bring out the big guns and implement some new tips and products. For now though, we’re happy and healthy, and I wish the same for you!
Have tips for healthy kids? I’m all ears! Drop them in the comments or share them over on this instagram post!
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