Webber Naturals expert Quinn Hand shares her expert knowledge to keeping your kids healthy this school year.
Find out what you can do for your children to keep them, not only virus free this cold-season, but in tip top health!
We’re halfway through the first term at school and, as all parents know, closed quarter environments are the breeding ground for our favourite winter companions: the cold and flu. However, there’s more to keeping our kids healthy than just avoiding the “virus du jour.” It also includes their complete physical, mental and emotional wellbeing – components that are critical for a successful school year. So, here are some tips for making sure your kids are fully healthy, not just virus-free.
They may not be babies anymore, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need their 40 winks. School-aged children, pre-teens and teens actually require more hours than you might realize. Younger students (roughly grades 1-6) require anywhere from 10-12 hours per night, while teens need 8.5-9.5 per night. Tragically, many of our children, particularly teens, are not getting the sleep they require. This can lead to inattentiveness, irritability, hyperactivity, learning difficulties, short-term memory lapses, and inconsistent performance in school, not to mention a weaker immune system and higher chances of getting sick.
It is important to have a consistent bed time schedule, allowing sufficient time to unwind before bed. For younger kids, a sleep ritual may be ideal. Read a story or have a bath or listen to relaxing music to get them ready for a good night’s sleep. A consistent wake schedule is equally important to help regulate circadian rhythms, as well as provide structure to your child’s day.
2. Food for thought
If you have been following our blogs, you know the importance of food in maintaining good health. If we want to give our kids a fighting chance against colds and flu, and help them maintain focus in the classroom, we have to feed them adequate amounts of fruits, veggies and protein.
o Fruits and Veggies: due to the high amount of vitamins and minerals, fruits and veggies help maintain a strong immune system. The more colourful the combination, the wider the range of nutrients you get. Additionally, fruits and veggies provide a source of fiber, which can help stabilize blood sugar levels (a critical component to supporting concentration throughout the day).
o Protein: protein is critical to ensuring immunity, mental focus and energy. When it comes to immunity, protein helps our bodies produce microbe-fighting cells. A deficiency in these cells results in more difficulty warding off infection. In particular, certain protein sources can also have very specific immune balancing effects, such as whey protein isolates. Typically found as a protein powder, whey protein isolates can boost certain infection fighting molecules, improve iron stores (needed to fight infection) and act as an antioxidant. Protein supports our mental focus and energy because it is the fuel source that breaks down slowly, keeping our blood sugars stable.
3. The fountain of life – water
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! The body can go without food for months, but only a few days without water. It is critical in the fight against infection as it helps move toxins out of the body and keeps our protective mucous membranes (such as those in the nose and throat) moist to trap invaders. Try and avoid sugar-filled drinks: concentrated amounts of sugar often only lead to poor behaviour and concentration, and even a lowered immune function. If your kids are highly active, water becomes all the more important both during and after activity.
Tips for making water an easy choice:
o Purchase your child a fun, stainless steel water bottle they can carry in their lunch bag
o If your kids say they hate water, try putting slices of lemon, lime, and oranges or berries in their glass, water bottle, or the family water jug to improve flavor without adding calories or sugar
Image sources: A Twist of Fate blog, Kids Health Topics and pixmule.com