As a parent, you want your child to be healthy and happy. But sometimes, it seems like they catch every bug that goes around. Why is that?

Well, one reason is that kids’ immune systems are different from adults’ in many ways. They are still developing and learning to fight off various germs and diseases. They also rely more on their innate immunity, which is the first line of defense against infections, rather than their adaptive immunity, which is more specific and long-lasting. This means that kids may get sick more often, but they may also recover faster and have less severe symptoms.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to help your kid’s immune system. In fact, there are many natural ways to boost their immunity and keep them healthy. Here are some of them:

  • Breastfeed your baby for at least 6 months, if possible. Breast milk contains antibodies and nutrients that help your baby fight off infections and support their growth and development. Breastfeeding also helps you bond with your baby and reduces the risk of allergies, asthma, obesity, and diabetes.
  • Feed your child a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and probiotics. These foods provide your child with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds that support their immune system and overall health. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in your gut and help balance your microbiome, which plays a key role in your immunity. You can find probiotics in foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and tempeh.
  • Limit your child’s intake of added sugars, processed foods, and artificial ingredients. These foods can cause inflammation, weaken your child’s immune system, and increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. Instead of giving your child sugary drinks, snacks, and desserts, offer them water, fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate.
  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Water helps flush out toxins, transport nutrients and oxygen, regulate body temperature, and lubricate joints and tissues. Dehydration can impair your child’s immune system and make them more prone to infections. Aim for about 6 to 8 cups of water per day for children aged 4 to 13 years old.
  • Ensure your child gets enough sleep and follows a regular bedtime routine. Sleep is essential for your child’s immune system as it helps repair cells and tissues, produce antibodies and cytokines (immune messengers), and regulate inflammation. Lack of sleep can lower your child’s immunity and make them more susceptible to illnesses.
  • The amount of sleep your child needs depends on their age, but generally speaking:
    • Newborns (0-3 months) need 14-17 hours of total sleep per day
    • Infants (4-11 months) need 12-15 hours of total sleep per day
    • Toddlers (1-2 years) need 11-14 hours of total sleep per day
    • Preschoolers (3-5 years) need 10-13 hours of total sleep per day
    • School-age children (6-13 years) need 9-11 hours of total sleep per day
    • Teenagers (14-17 years) need 8-10 hours of total sleep per day

To help your child get quality sleep, you can follow some tips such as:

  • Setting a consistent bedtime and wake-up time
  • Creating a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Making the bedroom comfortable, dark, quiet, and cool
  • Avoiding caffeine, large meals, and screen time before bed
  • Encouraging physical activity and exposure to natural light during the day

To Your Health & Wellness!


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