As children return to school, it’s essential to equip them with the tools necessary to keep them healthy. One of the most important factors in staying healthy is having a strong immune system.
To help strengthen your child’s immunity, make sure they’re eating a nutritious and balanced diet. Research done by Piedmont Healthcare, a hospital system based in Atlanta, found that a diet high in unhealthy sugars suppresses the immune system and can make children more vulnerable to illnesses such as cold and flu. Conversely, eating a healthy diet helps the body fight parasites, bacteria and viruses.
There are a number of ways to encourage your child to eat healthier. Get them involved in cooking and exploring different foods as early as possible. Also encourage them to pack their own lunches—filled with healthy options, of course—so they won’t be tempted by the processed, high–sugar foods offered at school.
Getting an adequate amount of sleep is another important factor in ensuring your child’s immune system stays strong. When a child doesn’t get an adequate amount of sleep, it negatively affects their motivation and creativity, and can cause irritability and increased levels of stress. When a child does get an adequate amount of uninterrupted sleep, they have more energy, their memory improves, and they’re better prepared to fight off viruses or illness they may come into contact with at school.
Lastly, teach your child the importance of personal hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting. Show your child how easily germs can spread by using interactive examples. One creative idea involves putting water on a paper plate and adding a generous amount of black pepper (which represents germs) to it. When your child touches the water, the pepper will stick to their finger. But when they do the same thing after dipping their finger in soap first, all the pepper scatters. This puts into perspective how easy it can be to spread germs when proper hygiene isn’t achieved.