How to Build Your Child’s Immune System Naturally

Shane does not get his immune system from me. I spent my childhood fighting the flu, the cold, you name it- I even had strep throat for so long that it gave me rheumatic fever. But Shane? Ironically enough, he’s sick right now- but it’s his second cold, ever. &He’ll be three next week. The average young child {prior to school age} has an average of 6-8 colds per year, so I’ll call that a win.

So why is he so healthy? They say the best offense is a good defense, so I’ve worked to build our defense against illness by taking some steps to make sure Shane’s immune system is at its best, so that I can shield him everywhere at all once.

how to build your childs immune system naturally

1. Eat the right foods. When you have a cold, you probably drink orange juice, right? We all know that Vitamin C is a natural immunity booster, but did you know that garlic & omega-3 fatty acids are as well? Both are known to increase production of white blood cells- the ones that fight infection.

2. Get some sleep. When Shane gave up his nap awhile back, I wasn’t surprised- he sleeps for 12 hours at night. Toddlers should get 12-13 hours of sleep per day, whether that’s just overnight or including a nap. Sleep is important because when your body isn’t as rested as it should be, it becomes more susceptible to getting sick.

3. Take your vitamins! {Note: I’m not a doctor so consult your own before starting your little one on anything} Shane has been taking an all-natural toddler-friendly supplement since he was 2. Even on the nights when I forget to give it to him, he asks for it because he loves the taste, so he takes it regularly. While I try to give Shane a variety of foods containing several vitamins & minerals, the supplement fills in any gaps that are left behind by his toddler pickiness.{He takes Nature’s Plus- Animal Parade Baby Plex Multi which is safe for infants & toddlers, and is free of sugar, artificial colors, preservatives, yeast, wheat, soy and milk.}

4. Lower sugar intake. I know first hand how hard this is to do with a picky child who only wants to eat sugary snacks, but sugar can actually cut the effectiveness of the immune system by half. So even if you’re making sure your little one eats lots of fruits & veggies, sleeps 12 hours & takes a supplement, if they are loading up on sugar all day they still have a compromised immune system.

5. Get Outside! Not only does being outside usually equate to exercise, which is a huge way to make our bodies healthy in general, but Vitamin D is a great immunity booster, and is created by our skin cells when we are in the sun. Not only does Vitamin D build the body’s ability to fight common infections like the cold & flu, but it also helps protect against depression, insomnia, and even heart diseases & cancer- so take some time in the sun for yourself, too!

6. Get Dirty! I try not to be a germaphobe, beyond making the obvious good choices, like teaching him to sneeze into a tissue & throw it away immediately and using disinfecting wipes when we’re out & about and can’t get to a sink to wash & dry our hands. Evidence suggests that you can have not enough exposure to germs, which can cause your immune system to under-develop & actually make you get sick more often.

These are immune system building tips that can help anyone’s immunity- not just your child’s. They may seem like common sense but if your child gets sick a lot, really think about it- are they lacking one of these essential parts of the puzzle?

As we head into the school year, make sure you’re helping your child stay protected from the multitude of germs headed their way- and since you won’t be there to protect them yourself, give them an immune system that will do that for you.

What are your favorite ways to shield your child from getting sick?

Note: As a member of Clever Girls Collective, I was selected to participate in the Healthy Habits program sponsored by Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own. #healthyhabits #cgc

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Comments

  1. What a fantastic list! It is so important to build up our kids’ immune systems. I used to get sick all the time as a kid, and I definitely don’t want them to do the same thing.
    Joanna recently posted..The Spices I Must Have In My Kitchen

  2. Wow, I had no idea that sugar can impact the immune system! Like you, I was always sick as a kid–maybe it was all the candy I ate? ;)
    Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies recently posted..What I Ate This Week | More Grilled Tofu Sandwiches!

  3. geez, no wonder I was always sick when I was younger! I had no idea. Time to look at my kids’ diet and fix it I’m sure.
    Jennifer recently posted..For Our Next Baby…

  4. Excellent advice! My children (knock on wood) get sick very infrequently and I do all of these things apart from the mulch-vitamin. They’ve taken them on occasion and they’re in the house, I just don’t doll them out!
    nicole @nicky_olea recently posted..No Space Available

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