Even before COVID-19, back to school always meant back to bugs... colds, upset tummies, coughs and more. Obviously, immunity is on everyone’s minds more than ever before with COVID-19. As some kids head back to school part or full time, what can you do to boost your little ones’ immune systems?
First of all, parents and kids should be familiar with the latest COVID- 19 guidelines. Here are the latest guidelines published by the CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US for preventing the spread in children: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/daily-life-coping/children/protect-children.html and CDC’s general guidelines for schools: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools- childcare/prepare-safe-return.html
After that, we fall back on the basics.
First, hygiene. This is something you can start young and carry on through their teenage years. The most important basic hygiene practice is hand washing—with soap and warm water—before they eat and drink, and after using the bathroom. Practicing lathering and rinsing is just as important, as is drying with a clean towel or air drying.
It goes without saying during COVID-19, but also anytime, learning not to touch their face in public and in general will serve them well lifelong. If they must, wash hands first. This will help your teens with acne! If they touch their feet, handle things on the ground, or get dirty, it’s time to wash hands. Before, during, and after food preparation, wash hands. Handle a pet, treat a cut, and especially if you cough or sneeze—wash hands! Basically, hand washing should become a normal regular part of their daily habits.
It’s a good idea to send them out of the house with hand sanitizer gel or spray. You can use sanitizer that contains anti-bacterial essential
oils like tea tree oil, but right now it is recommended that whatever you use contain a minimum 60% alcohol. Remember, though, washing is best!
Second, a healthy diet goes a long way towards keeping kids (and grown-ups) healthy and boosting immune systems. Kids tend to dislike many vegetables, but try to get as many fruits and veggies into their meals as you can. Fresh red and yellow bell pepper slices are sweet and tasty to most kids. Cucumbers are mild, and you can make broccoli fun by pretending to chop down the broccoli trees while you eat! Try blending veggies into a spaghetti sauce and add to lasagna or pasta. Nuts and fruits coated in yogurt can be good too, as they contain lots of zinc, an effective immunity booster. Early exposure to a wide range of different flavors and textures is said to help develop children’s taste buds, so don’t wait.
Third, get your kids on a regular bedtime routine. Tiredness and lack of sleep can really depress a young immune system. If they have a hard time falling asleep, try magnesium-rich foods, as magnesium balances hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain.
Finally, introduce your kids (and yourself!) to self-care. Meditation and yoga are great practices for reducing stress and anxiety, improving focus and overall well-being. Here are some resources for kids:
• https://insighttimer.com/meditation-topics/children - this is a
popular meditation app
But sometimes you want self-care that you don’t have to do yourself. In that case, book a spa day or treat your teen to a pro skincare treatment. You will feel refreshed, renewed, and ready to meet the day.