Summer coming to an end was always something I dreaded! The thought of pool days being over and the kids heading back to school always seemed to put me in a funk and part of the reason was because it meant SICKNESS!
It would only take a few weeks into school and it seemed like kids were already coming down with CRUD! Wasn’t it nice when all summer we were healthy and happy? Now fall’s here, school in, schedules are packed, and everybody seems a bit more stressed.
Years ago I started researching why my kids got sick more during the cooler months than in the warmer months and how I could prevent so many sick days!
I’ve actually become pretty successful at this over the 10+ years my older son has been in daycare and school. My kids are significantly sick less often than their counterparts and I’m not trying to brag… but I will share some of my secrets! Here’s 9 sure-fire ways to keep your kids healthy all year!
The most integral component of the immune system is healthy gut flora. Probiotics are one of the most important supplements, not just for your kids, but for everyone in my opinion!
Did you know over 70% of our immune system lives in our stomach? Probiotics are full of good bacteria that are needed to keep up good gut flora. Good gut flora is the key to a healthy immune system. Probiotics boost the body’s immune system and support good digestion (as well as many other things you can read about in this post).
When bad bacteria gets in our body, the probiotics help balance the good and bad! When your body isn’t getting the adequate amount of healthy bacteria, you are much more susceptible to stress and illness. There are many different strains of probiotics and it’s best to find a supplement that has many strains rather than just one or two, since each strain does something different.
Any probiotic would be better than no probiotic, but they are not all created equally! It’s important that you find a good probiotic that contains many strains of beneficial bacteria and ensure that it is able to stay alive, even after it enters your stomach.
Probiotics that you can find at most grocery stores or big box stores are going to be a waste of your money. It’s best to get your probiotic from a health food store and make sure it’s refrigerated. Probiotics can be found minimally in yogurt, but most store bought yogurts are full of sugar, added thickeners, and artificial ingredients.
**Antibiotics KILL bacteria GOOD AND BAD! If your child must take an antibiotic it’s imperative that you give them a probiotic after they finish the course of the antibiotic. This will replace the good bacteria that were lost! Many kids get ill shortly after they finish an antibiotic for this very reason.**
Here’s a brand I really like to give the kids! They also have a variety of different probiotics available. I buy mine at Whole Foods. There are of coarse many good brands of probiotics out there, these are just the ones I like! Click here to purchase.
2. Vitamin D – The Sunshine Vitamin!
Did you know that one of the main reasons people get sick more in the winter vs. the summer is lack of Vitamin D? Well it’s true, and that’s why it’s important to make sure your kiddos are getting the right amount.
Vitamin D is found naturally in very few foods, added to many, and found in the sunshine! But, Just playing outside during the winter months is not going to be enough to give them the vitamin D they need because skin needs to be exposed to the sun in order for vitamin D to be absorbed into the body and that’s not the case when we are all bundled up! Also, in most parts of the country the sun isn’t strong enough in the winter months to provide the vitamin D most of us need.
The recommended DV of vitamin D for kids over 12 months old is 600 IU or 15 mcg. It’s extremely hard to overdose on Vitamin D, since the majority of Americans are deficient in it to begin with and it would take an upward amount of 10,000 IUs or more to do so.
This is the brand I use for my kids; the best part is they just need ONE drop! When he was a baby I’d put a drop on his pacifier and stick it in his mouth, easy peasy! Click here to purchase.
3. Elderberry Syrup
Current research supports the benefits of Elderberry on the body. Elderberry is used to support the immune system, especially during the winter months and times of extra stress.
I personally love this stuff and give it to the kiddos throughout the school year and particularly when I think they may be coming down with something or when something’s going around.
This one is my favorite mainly because it not only has the Elderberry but it’s also infused with Echinacea and Astragalus, which are both known for deep immune support as well! It also has no artificial ingredients and is made in the USA!
4. Avoiding Overly Processed Foods and Toxic Ingredients
Dr. Mercola warns that the “over-abundance of many processed and genetically modified foods in the typical Western diet simultaneously enhance inflammation while decreasing your immune system’s ability to respond to and ultimately control infections.”
All the snacks, cereals, and junk foods that are marketed to kids today aren’t providing the nutrition they need and worse are loading them up with chemicals, preservatives, and artificial ingredients foreign to our bodies, killing our gut health and compromising our immune systems.
*Remember gut health is the key to a thriving immune system so we don’t want to do anything that voids that.*
I know it’s impossible to avoid all processed foods but make sure you’re at least reading labels and looking for sugar content and the NO NO’s: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors/Colors, any ingredient that starts with ‘Partially Hydrogenated’, Aspartame, & BHA-BHT, to name a few (There are more, but this is a good start on stuff you DON’T want in your food!) I buy organic for many reason but one is- not having to look at the ingredients for any of that junk, because it won’t be in there, it can’t be in there, if it’s labeled ‘Organic’.
I also realize that it’s hard for Moms (and Dads) to find snacks to feed their kids that are whole so here’s a list to spark some ideas in your head:
- Organic Dried Fruit
- Raw Organic Nuts
- Organic Cheese
- Organic Yogurt and Kefir
- Organic Raw Veggies (Celery, Carrots, Cucumber- dipped in homemade ranch! Yum!
- Organic Fruits (bananas, apples, pears, pineapple, mango, watermelon, honey dew melon, cantaloupe, grapes, berries, oranges, peaches, plums, (not the ones sitting in a can full of sugary juice), etc
- Cage Free Hard Boiled Eggs
5. Limit Sugar
There is sugar in almost everything we eat and limiting it for kids can be hard but it’s crucial to limit their intake if you want to keep them healthy.
Sugar and vitamin C compete with each other in the body, therefore high levels of sugar mean lower levels of vitamin C, which lowers the immune system and makes your child more susceptible to colds. It’s that simple.
One way to cut some of the sugar out is to limit juice!
Juice is actually NOT all that healthy at all, regardless if it says 100% juice and 100% vitamin C. It’s not needed and if your child must have it, limit it to no more than 4 to 6 ounces a day.
I half my kids with water and they maybe get one glass a day, if at all.
WATER, WATER, WATER, if they are truly thirsty then they should have no problem drinking water! If your child refuses- start by adding a small splash of juice to the water to give it some flavor and eventually they’ll get used to the taste of plain water. (Fresh, clean water please! Tap water is a another NO, NO!)
Read about how sugar affects your weight loss here
6. Essential Oils
Essential oils are nature’s medicine and I could write a whole post on the benefits of essential oils (and I will) but the one I’ll talk about today is Thieves. Thieves oil is the DO IT ALL oil and I’m in love with it!
Medical research has proven that this oil has many health benefits. It’s a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary, and it’s an antiviral, antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti- infectious oil.
I use it for everything from cleaning the house to sick care to hand sanitizer. It’s best when put on the kids feet and spine in the morning before school or daycare and again before bed. It can also be diffused in the air to clean and disinfect any germs in the air when someone’s sick.
When my kids are sick I diffuse it in their rooms at bedtime and see immediate results. I’m telling you this stuff is amazing! Anyone who uses essential oils will tell you how great Thieves is!
*Make sure when using essential oils that you use only therapeutic grade oils, you don’t want synthetic fragrances, as they have no health benefits*
I use Young Living.
7. Chiropractic Care
I know this may come as strange to some of you but my kids have been getting adjusted by a chiropractor since birth.
Chiropractic has many benefits and isn’t just for people with back problems. I could go on and on about the benefits of chiropractic care but I’ll just talk about the immune system benefits. The nervous system and the immune system are wired to work together. Spinal misalignments are stressful to the body and can cause abnormal immune responses.
When something is misaligned in the spine it cause compression on nerve pathways that effect the immune system and other systems in the body. Getting the kids adjusted keeps them properly aligned and allows their immune system to function properly.
You may think your kids aren’t misaligned, but everytime they fall (which kids do often), they are most likely misaligning themselves and this can cause many problems you may not even be aware of. My kids love to get adjusted and my oldest has become so in tune with his body he can actually tell when he needs an adjustment and asks for one!
It’s also great for kids who are prone to ear infections!
This may seem obvious, but some people I talk to just don’t get it! Kids need sleep and lots of it! I’ve always been a huge advocate for sleep and would always be the parent to leave a party or get together early to get my kids to bed ON TIME!
According the National Sleep Foundation, children aged 1-3 need 12-14 hours a sleep per day (including naps if they take one).
Children aged 3-5, 11-13 hours per day
Children aged 5-12, 10-11 hours per day
It’s also best if you try to keep there bedtime within an hour of its usual time each night. Our bodies love a schedule and regularity and do best when this is done! I’ve noticed over the years just one or two nights of my kids staying up late in a row will almost always make them more susceptible to illness. Don’t expect your kids to thrive and be healthy if they aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep.
I may have a small, but healthy obsession with humidifiers and I currently own 5! Here’s why… the air gets dry in the winter and when we use our heat it can drop the humidity in the air to as low as 10%, and ideal indoor humidity is between 30% and 40%.
We all think of using a humidifier when someone is sick but why not all the time? Cool mist is safest and having one running continually has many benefits like:
-Reduce susceptibility to illness by keeping nasal and throat passages moist
-Prevent dry skin and lips
These are all reasons to use one throughout the winter, but you need to make sure you keep it clean (I clean mine every time I refill it). If you don’t keep it clean it can breed bacteria and do more harm than good!
There you have it! Some of the ways I keep my kids healthy during the cooler months and really all year! It took a long time to figure out what worked and what didn’t.
I know this is a lot to take in and can be expensive to implement some or all of these strategies into your life; but if slowly over time you implement them, I promise you, you will see a difference in your child’s health!
If you have any questions about any of these products feel free to email me or leave a comment!
I love to help make people healthy!
Yours in health,
Comment below and tell me what are your tricks and tips for keeping your kids healthy! I’d love to learn something new!
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are purely and entirely my own. I do not claim to be an expert on a certain topic, product or service. I will only endorse companies, products and services that I believe, based on my own experiences, are worthy of endorsement. I sometimes may receive compensation for endorsing these products. I also do not claim to be a health care provider and you should always check with your doctor before starting a health care regimen.