Autumn Immune Boosting Tips for Toddlers
This time of year is beautiful, isn’t it? The cool weather, colorful leaves, and the endless germs and colds that make their way through our homes. Because it’s not Fall without raw noses, sneezing, and endless trails of tissues, right?
Since I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease a year and a half ago, we have really been working on trying to keep our kids heathy. I have not only changed my eating habits completely, but those of my family as well. And honestly, it’s not as hard as it sounds, and we have seen so many benefits because of it. Being a Certified Children & Family Health Coach, my world has opened up to so many different ways of taking care of ourselves outside of just medicating our symptoms until our body finally heals. I didn’t realize that we were crippling our immune systems with the medicines that we thought were helping.
It’s a scary statistic that the United States comprises only 5% of the world population, yet we consume over 50% of prescribed medications. And while these medications are too powerful to use on toddlers, we often use them on ourselves without thinking twice. The best way to handle illness with kids is to keep the immune system in great shape so it can fight off what it needs to fight. So how do you do that?
- Feed them healthy food. This seems pretty obvious, but I think that this is the hardest thing to accomplish. You may be thinking “well, my kids don’t like vegetables”, and that’s common. But once I started the rule that the kids were going to eat what we eat at dinner, my oldest son refused dinner. Every. Night. And you know what? He was fine. And now he eats it. It took a few weeks for him to stop fighting it, and a few more to start liking it. I’ve got a whole new kid who is trying new foods I love it! Aim for fruits and veggies for snacks, and they’ll eventually learn to expect it.
- Take them to the park. Getting enough exercise is a huge problem for so many kids these days. We’ve got TV’s, iPads, cell phones, tablets, and video games. All of these activities are taking time away from our kids spending enough time outside. They need the Vitamin D from the sun to help their immune system. They need to be able to run and climb to tone their muscles and help their balance. They need to be able to burn off their excess energy so they sleep better at night!
- SLEEP. This one is really hard, because a lot of kids don’t like to sleep a lot. But it’s so important for them to be able to fight off illnesses when they come knocking. If your child isn’t a great sleeper, the first thing that I would do is take a look at what they are eating and when they’re eating it. Sugar, sodas, and even fruit too close to bed will cause issues with their sleep schedules.
- Diffuse essential oils. We have essential oils going every night, and while they change with the season, they always help us get better quality sleep and boost our immune system. Not all oils are safe for applying to kids, but they are good for the diffuser.
- Use elderberry syrup. I love elderberry syrup, and I use it whenever one of us starts feeling like we’re coming down with something. They have children’s and adult strength ones, or you can make your own. I mix a little bit in with their morning juice and a good dose of probiotics and they are set to fight off those colds.
- Give them quality probiotics. Gut health is directly related to immune function, and it’s important to start at a young age. Since there’s so much sugar (which damages your gut lining) and so little fermented food in our standard diet, our kids are damaging their stomachs from the time they can start eating, and they’re not getting a chance to recover that damage. Good probiotics help to introduce healthy bacteria into the gut, and it’s necessary because all of the sugar we eat kills the good bacteria and allows the bad bacteria (like candida and H. Pylori) to flourish.
Obviously, here is where I’m going to tell you that I’m not a doctor, this is not medical advice, and that you should consult your healthcare professional before making changes. But I’m a mama and a health coach, and these tips are what I use on my own family. I’ve got some strong healthy boys, and I’m working at making my own immune system stronger by the day as well.
How do you keep your kids healthy when all of these viruses are everywhere?