Children's immune systems are still developing, making them more susceptible to getting sick, particularly in the cooler months. Here are some things you can do to help your child's immune system stay strong:
Eating a healthy diet
A healthy diet means eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help support a strong immune system.
Getting enough sleep
When children don't get enough sleep, their immune systems cannot function properly. The recommended hours of sleep per 24 hours, by age and including naps are:
- Infant (4-12 months): 12-16 hours
- Toddler (1-2 years old): 11-14 hours
- Preschool (3-5 years old): 10-13 hours
- School-age (6-12 years old): 9-12 hours
Stress can weaken the immune system. Help your child find healthy ways to manage stress as they get a little older can be important such as exercise, relaxation techniques, or time in nature.
Exposing your child to germs
This may sound counterintuitive, but it's essential for children to be exposed to germs safely. This helps their immune systems learn how to fight off infection.