Advice Column, Education, Health, Parenting

Back to school: Time to boost your child’s immune system?

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  • Category Advice Column, Education, Health, Parenting

The kids have been at home for almost two months, but in just a few short weeks, they will be back to school. Most of us headed the president’s plea to keep safe, sanitise and stay home, which means that our children have been around fewer people, have been exposed to less germs, and may require a little immunity boost.  

Catherine Clark, Owner and Founder of the Harvest Table says that even if you’ve already started giving them vitamins, there are other ways to help boost immunity, “A strong immune system does not necessarily mean your child will not get sick, but their body will be in a better position to fight against bacteria and viruses,” she adds.

Catherine offers these four ways to boost your child’s immunity:

  1. Encourage adequate sleep time: Sleep is one of the most important components of the immune system. Many studies show that sleep deprivation increases susceptibility to infection in children. The Sleep Foundation recommends that children aged 3-5 years get 10-14 hours of sleep, and those aged 6-13 get 9-11 hours of sleep. In order to help give your child a longer, better rest at night, it is essential to get them back into a well-defined sleep time routine. Have set bed- and wake-up-times, limit noise in the home by switching off devices and wind down by reading them a book. 
  2. Keep up the hygiene: According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), washing hands prevents illnesses and the spread of infections to others. They also recommend regular hand washing because it helps prevent 30% of diarrhoea-related illnesses, and 20% respiratory infections. Encourage your children to not only sanitise regularly, but also wash their hands often (and not only when they are visibly dirty!). Furthermore, clean their toys and high-touch surfaces often to limit the transfer of germs. 
  3. Make movement a part of play: Research shows that prolonged hours of sitting can increase the risk of upper respiratory infections by two or three times a year, but, moderate exercise can reduce this by stimulating an immune response in the body. Children don’t spend as much time outside as they used to due to distractions like television and other devices. It can be challenging to encourage them to do something outside, so it’s important to make outdoor play fun. And, it’s not enough to tell your children to play in the yard, you need to get involved too! They will be more motivated if mom or dad doing it as well.
  4. Up the probiotics and prebiotics: About 70% of the body’s immune cells are found in the gut. There are good and bad bacteria found in the gut. Probiotics increase the good bacteria and thus reduce the potential damage caused by the harmful bacteria. Prebiotics, on the other hand, stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria and directly impact the body’s defense system by decreasing susceptibility to inflammatory disease. You can increase your child’s probiotic and prebiotic intake with The Harvest Table’s new Kid’s range. It contains prebiotics, probiotics, collagen, bone broth, magnesium, barley grass juice, and lion’s mane mushrooms — all vital ingredients for growing bodies. Plus, it tastes like a milk shake so it’s easy enough to get them to take it! 

“Illness is a part of life. Your child is likely to still get sick, no matter how many vitamins and supplements they take, but boosting their immunity builds up their ability fight off illnesses quicker and gives them a fighting chance,” Catherine concludes.

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