8 Tips for Keeping Kids Healthy All Winter
What parent doesn’t want to arm themselves with some extra protective health rituals during cold and flu season? Cold weather and shorter days mean spreading germs around the close quarters we share with our families and then inhaling the general populations’ viruses and mucus whenever we leave the house! So short of not breathing or moving to a warmer and more humid climate where the influenza virus isn’t as happy, what can you really do to keep your kids healthy? Make sure everyone has their flu shot (No-September’s not too early, and Yes-January is still better late than never), remember your own self-care is an integral part of parenting, then give your kids an immunity boost with these practical tips!
1. Maintain Routine Keep sleep and mealtime rhythms consistent, regardless of what they may be. Following cyclical patterns that repeat regularly allow every system in the human body to stay in balance and assimilate, absorb, and utilize food for optimal nourishment.
2. Go Out and Play Getting bundled up and outdoors in wintertime is invigorating for mind and body, essential for exercise and reducing lethargy, and the perfect time to soak up some sunshine and increase those falling vitamin D levels naturally so you don’t end up with decreased winter immunity and a deficiency in March.
3. Aromatherapy Stimulating and spicy aromas promote overall well-being and are the perfect antidote to cabin fever and too many snow days. A few drops of essential oils like juniper, clove, and orange in a home diffuser will go a long way. Or surprise your kids with a fizzy bath bomb or scented shower tablet! Want to add a little more life and style to your home? Grab some eucalyptus leaves next time you visit your local florist and scatter them in vases to naturally scent rooms throughout your house.
4. Wash Hands You know why. The research is irrefutable—this is the single most effective way to protect your kids from getting or spreading infections and illnesses. So pick a song they should hum while lathering up and scrubbing underneath their fingernails if they need a refresher course, and don’t forget to dry: damp hands spread a thousand times more germs than dry ones according to research.
5. Humidify the Air Studies show the flu virus thrives in cold, dry air and that humidity levels above 40% will actually deactivate influenza virus particles. Humidifying the air at home can decrease chances of infection, make the air feel warmer inside, and replace some much needed moisture to heal those cracked lips your kids keep licking!
6. Spice Things Up According to Ayurveda, adding winter warming herbs and spices like ginger, clove, turmeric, fennel, or cinnamon to porridges and hearty soups and stews will boost immunity, cut down on mucous production, and keep the digestive fire burning strong. Ayurvedic spiced milks before bedtime are deeply nourishing, promote sleep, and the perfect way to treat your child before bed.
7. Hydrate Tired of finding your child’s water bottle full at the end of the school day? Making sure your kids stay hydrated is all-important in wintertime when dehydration can be less noticeable, but can be challenging during the week. Try herbal teas like peppermint at breakfast or as part of an after-school snack to boost fluid intake, and enjoy a little quality time preparing them together!
8. Ditch the Ice Avoid anything iced as it extinguishes agni, or your digestive fire. According to Ayurveda, once this happens, there is not a strong enough “fire” to properly digest food and transform into the deep nourishment that kids especially need. So, ditch the ice in those smoothies, drink fluids warm or at room temperature, and replace treats like ice cream with a homemade or best ingredient baked good!
Alyson Gregory is a mother and author.