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Parents – we know you’re doing everything that you can to help keep your little ones healthy and safe during this Coronavirus outbreak. In addition to general safety & hygiene practices, it’s also important to focus on strengthening immunity at a time like this, both for you and your children. A strong immune system can help fight off viruses and bacteria, keeping your little ones happy and healthy. Here are some simple yet important immunity-boosting practices for your kids:
1. Continue breastfeeding
If you’re already breastfeeding your little one, try and continue for as long as you can. Breastmilk contains antibodies that help fight infection and can greatly help boost your baby’s immunity at this time.
2. Add immunity-boosting foods to their diet
Serve up foods that are rich in Vitamins A, E and C, which help in the body fight infection and boost the immunity. These include colourful vegetables & fruits such as spinach, kale, carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes berries, oranges and melons. Try and ensure that they get a balanced diet. Stay away from refined sugars and instead, serve them a variety of fruits. Wash and peel fruits before serving. You can even make a delicious fruit smoothie in your blender.
3. Maintain proper gut health to protect against infection
Gut bacteria that mostly reside in our gastrointestinal tracts are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and help in fighting off infection. When there is an imbalance in this gut bacteria, the immune system can be weakened, leaving your little ones more susceptible to illness. This sometimes happens after taking prescribed antibiotics which kill these gut bacteria. Lots of sugary and processed foods in the diet can also cause this imbalance. To maintain a healthy level of gut bacteria, include foods that are rich in probiotics in your child’s diet. Yoghurt is a great probiotic. Use whole-fat, plain yoghurt instead of the flavoured ones. Some other good probiotic-rich foods for kids are cottage cheese, peas or buttermilk. Prebiotic foods such as whole grains, bananas, apples, flax seed are also healthy and rich in fiber.
4. Make sure they get enough play & exercise
It’s important for your kids to get enough play and physical activity to help strengthen their immunity, whether you do this indoors or outdoors. At the same time, make sure that you don’t overdo any exercise. Keep it regular and light. For infants, focus on simple tummy and neck strengthening exercises. Keep toddlers engaged by setting up a treasure hunt or obstacle course. Dancing is another fun activity. Even simple tasks like asking them to put away their toys at the end of the day encourages them to move around. Get older kids to join you in your daily workout. Make daily exercise a fun family activity.
5. Give infants a daily massage
Your baby’s daily massage or ‘maalish’ can actually help strengthen their immunity. Research has shown that a daily massage not only helps your baby’s body fight off infection but also promotes better sleep, thus keeping your little one happier and healthier.
Try our Softsens Baby Calming Massage Oil, a wonderful blend of 3 natural oils that soothes your baby’s skin and senses.
6. Ensure they’re getting enough sleep
The new quarantine routine may have altered everyone’s schedules a bit, but remember, it’s important to keep your child’s sleep schedule on track and ensure that they get their fair share of comfortable, uninterrupted sleep. For babies, this is usually 16 hours a day. Toddlers and preschoolers need around 10-14 hours of sleep. Older children require 8-10 hours.
7. Proper handwashing is essential
Washing hands thoroughly can protect us from all kinds of viruses and infections and the same goes for kids. Always get the kids to wash their hands thoroughly before and after coughing, sneezing, blowing their nose, eating, using the bathroom, playing with pets, outdoor/indoor play, etc. Teach them about the 20 second handwashing rule and make it a fun activity. For infants, you can wash their hands with a damp soapy towel. Follow it up by wiping their hands with a clean and damp towel and dry properly. Newborns won’t necessarily be touching a lot of items but it is important for you make sure you wash your hands before and after handling your little one.
8. Stick to their vaccination schedule if possible
Even during a quarantine, it is important to try and keep up with your child’s vaccination schedule. Discuss this with your child’s doctor over the phone first before you head off to your appointment as he/she will be able to guide you best during this time.
How do you help strengthen your child’s immunity? Share your tips and ideas with us!