As the weather cools down and the cold and flu season approaches, you may be wondering what you can do to help your kids learn about immune health and keep themselves as healthy as possible. Beyond stocking up on cold flu prevention medicine, it can seem tricky to get your children to understand the importance of looking after their immune system. However, their immune systems, a network of organs, proteins and cells that fight off infection, are key to combatting illnesses that they could pick up from friends or from the classroom, so forming good habits is paramount. Luckily, there are a few simple habits you can teach your kids about now that can keep them as safe and healthy as possible later on.
Practice Stress Relief Techniques With Them
When you feel stressed, you may actually be negatively impacting your health. Stress causes your immune system to lower the number of infection-fighting white blood cells it produces, which can increase your likelihood of catching something. School and other daily activities in the life of a child can be very stressful for them, so it’s important to practice good stress relief techniques with them that they can draw upon later. These can include:
- Taking slow, deep breaths
- Practicing kids sleep meditation
- Getting enough rest
You can even practice these methods as a family to provide your kids a model of self-care. If your child continues to seem stressed after implementing these techniques, you may want to consult your doctor about the best anxiety medication for children.
Explain the Importance of Nutrition
Another factor that shapes kids’ current and long-term health is their nutrition. Eating a balanced diet chock-full of a wide range of vitamins and minerals is foundational to a strong, well-functioning immune system. Make sure your kids know the importance of eating their fruits and veggies every day. As you pack their lunches or prep their dinners, ensure they’re getting the recommended daily amount of:
- B vitamins
- Vitamins A, D, E and C
You can have your kids help out in the kitchen as you’re preparing meals to help them learn how to cook nutritious foods. Some studies have shown that when children help prepare a meal, they’re more likely to try some of it, making this a good strategy for dealing with picky eaters, too. You can even incorporate additional fruits and vegetables into dishes they already know and love! For example, try adding some broccoli or spinach to their spaghetti and meatballs for an added boost of vitamins.
With school starting back up and cold and flu season just around the corner, you may be wondering what you can do to teach your children the importance of good immune health. Since the immune system is central to fighting off infections and disease, learning to stay healthy now can help keep your kids safe in the long run. Try these simple tips to educate your kids on what they need to know to be healthy during the upcoming season and beyond.