Some of us might be excited to get back to a routine whilst others might be dreading that back-to-school cough or cold, so how can we support our kids’ health? This is A new environment, change in schedule and mixing with different kids can expose your child to a mix of bacteria and viruses and leave them vulnerable to colds or coughs.
While this can’t always be totally avoided, we want to make sure you are equipped to support your child’s health.
Ways to support your kids’ health
Diet and nutrients
Eat a wide range of different foods, this ensures you are giving your child all the essential nutrients they need like vitamin C and zinc to support their immune system. Plant-based foods including fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and wholegrain carbohydrates are filled with nutrients and fibre which is good for their gut! Why not try setting a family challenge – who can eat the most colours each day or count the number of plant-based foods you eat in the week?
Lack of sleep can lower our immune system so making sure you create a sleep routine with your child is really beneficial. Try and avoid exposure to blue light 30 to 60 minutes prior to bedtime – this includes TV, tablets, computers and smartphones. Ideally, you want their environment to be dimly lit so their body can start naturally producing melatonin (the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle!). Try and set 1 or 2 activities that they do before bed to help wind them down, try a warm bath, a glass of milk, reading before bed or a pillow mist.
Add friendly bacteria to their routine! Your child’s gut is home to 70% of their immune system so plays a vital role in keeping them well. Friendly bacteria can help ensure this microbiome stays happy and healthy and fights off any bad bacteria. Live bacteria can either come from food like live yogurt and kefir, supplements and also nature (playing in the mud can be a good thing!).
Starting school and new activities can feel overwhelming for kids. Stress can lower their immune system and leave them more susceptible to picking up bugs. Make sure you give them time to unwind and relax at the end of the day. This will look different for all kids and whilst you might not get them to sit in silence for 30 minutes meditating(!), find something that helps them unwind.
Set them up for the day!
We have all heard “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and this is true. Having a healthy breakfast, high in fibre and protein can ensure your child is fuelled for their busy day ahead and avoid them crashing! If you are lacking time in the morning try prepping something the night before like overnight oats. You could even mix in some probiotics for extra gut support!
Top up on Vitamin D! Unfortunately, I don’t mean jet off to somewhere sunny but if you’ve stopped giving your child vitamin D now is the time to start. During the summer months we can rely on sunshine for vitamin D however, during autumn and winter it is recommended by the NHS to take 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day to their immune system. (Top tip – if you’re shadow is shorter than your body, it isn’t making vitamin D!).
Whilst this all can feel overwhelming at times, especially when your brain might still be in holiday mode – try building these healthy habits slowly. Small changes can go a long way in keeping your child well throughout the winter months.
My Baba has joined forces with top fertility expert and midwife Zita West to create a range of supplements to support your baby, toddler and child’s growth and development. Baba West ensures science and nutrition work hand-in-hand to help shape your child’s future health.