Kids immune system health
While it’s not possible to completely prevent or avoid cold-causing viruses, and children can get between five and 10 colds a year, there are things you can teach your kids to do – and not do – in order to help them stay well and support their immune system health.
A good place to start is by explaining that while germs are everywhere and many are harmless, some of them can make people unwell. And that even though germs are so small you can’t see them without a microscope, people can pass them onto each other.
Then let your kids know that there are things they can do to help stop those germs from spreading and to avoid catching a cold themselves.
Here are 5 key things to teach them – and don’t forget to show them, too. Once you’re across the habits mentioned below, strive to set an example for your kids by making the effort to do all these things yourself.
Do them all the time, so that they become habit. Not only are they helpful cold prevention tips for everyone, but especially when you’re with your kids.
1. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or into your elbow when you cough or sneeze
Explain that one way cold and flu germs spread from one person to another is through coughs and sneezes..
Then, make sure they know that if they need to cough or sneeze, it’s really important to do it into a tissue rather than into the air or their bare hands. And they should put the tissue in the bin straight away and not to stuff them in their pockets or up their sleeves!
If they don’t have a tissue, they should cough or sneeze into their elbow.
2. Wash your hands
Let your kids know that another way you can catch a cold or the flu is by touching something germy and then touching your face, or using your hands to eat something.
Explain that this means it’s really important that they wash their hands a lot, but especially after playing outside or with other kids, before you eat or touch your food, and after you’ve coughed or sneezed.
Though you’ve no doubt already taught them that it’s vital to wash their hands after going to the toilet , it’s a good idea to reinforce this again here.
In order to have the desired effect, it’s important that your kids know how to wash their hands properly
, which includes washing them for at least 20 seconds.
3. Keep your fingers off your face
At least until they’ve had a chance to wash their hands! Encourage them to get into the habit of avoiding touching their eyes, nose or mouth until their hands are squeaky clean .
4. Avoid germy sharing
Don’t discourage sharing full stop (because that’s a good behaviour for kids to learn!) but using the information above about germs and how bugs spread, encourage your children not to share items that come into contact with their mouths, like straws, cups, cutlery and bottles .
5. Feed your body with healthy food
Eating nutritious food is one of the things that will help your child’s immune system remain healthy. As well as explaining this to them, ask them to help you cook at home
, because research shows that kids who do that are more likely to eat and enjoy fruit and vegetables.
Teach your kids (or remind them!) about how much fruit and veggies they should eat and try new strategies to get them to eat fresh prodce like raw vegies with their sausages. Another great way to encourage healthy eating is to use vegetables as a healthy swap for family favourites like our super popular green sausage rolls