What does it take to boost your kids’ immune system? Here are some simple tips on how to strengthen your child’s natural defense system this winter.
Kids’ immune systems continuously build up over the years. We’ll show you how you can bolster your child’s natural defenses at an early age and promote proper immune system development.
Fresh Air for Stronger Immune Systems
From day one, you should be sure to spend enough time outside with your children. As long as you dress them warmly in the winter months, the fresh air will do them plenty of good and help to boost your kids’ immune system.
In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that Amish children who live on farms are far less prone to developing asthma and allergies compared to those who grow up in more ‘germ-free’ environments. If you want to strengthen your child’s immune system, play with him or her a lot outside – that means in the mud, dirt, sand, or snow.
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Clean, But Not Too Clean
The results of this study suggest that the key to boosting your kid’s immune system may not lie in always clean, sometimes over-sterile environments. The “dusty” nature of Amish farms may just play a pivotal role in bolstering developing immune defenses.
In an article published by the New York Times, professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins University Marsha Wills-Karp highlights the role less sterile environments play in proper immune system development – particularly how it gives kids’ immune systems a boost. According to Wills-Karp, “[w]hile you don’t want to go out and expose your child to aggressive infections, you don’t want to create such a sterile environment that their immune system doesn’t develop normally; it puts them at risk of developing immune diseases.”
Eczema and asthma are a few examples of avoidable autoimmune conditions with healthy immune system development. However, in the same NYT article, Dr. Jack Gilbert, one author of the study of immune profiles of Amish children cited above, adds that less than surgically clean living environments may do more than just boost your kid’s immune system. Early-life exposure to microbes may also affect the endocrine system and even the child’s neurodevelopment.
Eco-friendly cleaning with household remedies is therefore not only better for the planet, but is probably also the healthier option for your kid’s immune system. Even if you make it at home, hand sanitizer isn’t a must. Natural, or even homemade soap is a better choice for hand washing.
Here are some additional all-natural homemade cleaning products and other household hacks to try out:
- How To Wash Stuffed Animals: In The Washing Machine or By Hand
- Citric Acid for Cleaning: Practical Household Uses
- How to Clean Your Water Bottle: Keeping Your Reusable Bottle Germ-Free
- Homemade Dish Soap: DIY Dish Soap and Dishwasher Detergent
How to Boost Your Kid’s Immune System: Eat Healthily
Help your child maintain a balanced diet with all sorts of nutritious food for kids and you’ll also be giving their immune system a boost. Add some of these to your healthy grocery list and keep in mind the following core elements of a healthy diet:
- Boost your kid’s immune system with an ample supply of fresh fruit and vegetables packed with essential vitamins (such as vitamin C), and minerals.
- Organic whole grain products are loaded with fiber, another dietary essential for a strong immune system. Try this: Easy Bread Recipe: Simple and Quick 1 Hour Prep.
- Make sure your child stays properly hydrated – preferably with water or unsweetened tea.
Sleep is the Key to a Strong Immune System
Making sure your child gets enough sleep each night will help boost your kid’s immune system. Children generally need far more sleep than adults. The National Sleep Foundation provides an overview of recommended sleep requirements for children at various ages on its website.
According to the NSF, newborns through school-age children should maintain the following healthy sleeping hours:
- Newborns (0-3 months old): 14-17 hours
- Infants (4-11 months old): 12-15 hours
- Toddlers (1-2 years old): 11-14 hours
- Preschool (3-5 years old): 10-13 hours
- School-age (6-13 years old): 9-11 hours
Exercise is Healthy and Helps Boost Kids’ Immune Systems
It’s important for everyone to get enough exercise – including children. From an early age on, set aside enough time for your little ones to let off some steam. Give them the opportunity to move around and let their energy run free. You can do this by arranging a play-date, enrolling them in a sports group, or taking a simple trip to the playground, to the park, or in your own backyard.
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Promote Mental Health: Avoid Stress
Stressful situations are just as unhealthy for children as they are for us adults. Therefore, try to avoid or reduce stress involved with hectic schedules or verbal arguments at home. An active schedule will surely do your child some good, but only so long as it remains manageable for all involved.
You can familiarize your child with stress reduction exercises at a young age. Moments of feeling secure are also important for your child, such as cuddling or reading a book together. Take time out for your child and play with him or her. This is good for the soul and also helps to boost your kid’s immune system.
This article was translated from German to English by Evan Binford. You can view the original here: Abwehrkräfte von Kindern stärken: Tipps um das Immunsystem aufzubauen.underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support Utopia.org, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.
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