Although we all want our kids to learn to share, convincing them this doesn’t apply to germs can be really difficult! With school in full swing and more indoor activities putting us in closer proximity to others this time of year, you might be wondering what you can do to help your kids stay healthy. Here are a few tips.

Sleep

Getting quality, restful sleep in sufficient quantity is an important foundation for general health and well-being. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that young children (6-12 years) need 9-12 hours of sleep each night for healthy growth and development.1

Infants and toddlers need even more.  Teens need a little less, at 8-10 hours per night.1 You can support their quantity and quality of sleep by developing bedtime routines, establishing a normal bed time, and limiting screen time and activities at the end of the day.

Food

There is truth to the saying that “you are what you eat” in that food provides the raw materials that our bodies use to grow, repair, and function. Eating a variety of foods that provide an assortment of nutrients is the best way to provide the resources needed to maintain health.

Encouraging your children, especially the picky ones, to learn about the benefits of different foods and to engage in making healthy selections is a good way to build a foundation of health that will last a lifetime.

Water

Just like other nutrients, your body needs sufficient water to function properly and stay healthy. You might have heard that the adult human body is approximately 55-60 percent water, but did you know that newborns are about 78-percent water?2 

Water is crucial to many bodily functions, including digestion, waste removal, transport of oxygen and nutrients (blood is 50-percent water3), cooling (sweat), and much more. The machine of the body is driven by chemical reactions that depend on an aqueous (water) environment, and many of these processes cause water to leave the body; sweat and urine accounting for the most.

Drinking plain water to replace the water that is lost every day is a critical element of good health. For the reluctant child, it might help them to be motivated to drink enough water to learn about what water does in the body and why it’s so important.

Exercise

Exercise is another important component in maintaining overall health. Although it’s easy to assume that our kids are getting plenty of exercise just because they’re kids and we think they have boundless energy, it’s a good idea to occasionally assess your child’s actual activity level. They may not be getting as much activity as you think.

Recess and PE alone might not provide your child with sufficient physical activity (about one hour per day of higher intensity aerobic activity4), especially if they’re having indoor recesses due to weather. If they aren’t getting enough physical activity, then work with them to find active things they enjoy doing to get their bodies moving, maintain that youthful energy, and build good health habits. It might help you to get a little more movement in your day, too!  

Supplements

The body’s immune system is chiefly responsible for neutralizing intrusions from the likes of bacteria and viruses. Colder weather brings even more of these challenges with it.

In an ideal world we would all get plenty of nutrients from the foods we eat to support healthy, robust immune function, but realistically this is rare, and kids’ diets are no exception. Here’s a list of several supplements to consider for supporting your child’s immune function and overall health this winter:

1. Vitamin C w/ Flavonoids 

Vitamin C is well-known for its antioxidant properties; preventing damage from free radicals.*  Less well-known are its roles in connective tissue health, wound healing, cellular energy, and processing carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and cholesterol.*

Because the human body doesn’t manufacture vitamin C, it must be provided in the diet. And because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, the body doesn’t store large quantities, so regular replenishment is important. When food sources aren’t enough, supplements can be a simple way to top off the tank.  

Flavonoids have many properties in common with vitamin C. Incorporating the naturally sourced citrus flavonoids in Thorne’s Vitamin C w/ Flavonoids better mimics the food environments where vitamin C is naturally found, helping to maximize the body’s ability to use vitamin C.*

Vitamin C w/ Flavonoids is offered in a moderately-sized capsule. But if your child has a sensitive stomach or is not yet able to swallow capsules, and you’d like to provide them with extra vitamin C, then Thorne’s Buffered C Powder is an alternative.

2. Arabinex

As our understanding of the microbiome – the bacteria and other organisms that naturally and healthfully live in and on our bodies – expands, it is becoming increasingly apparent that supporting these organisms supports our own health.

Arabinex is a prebiotic fiber source derived from the western larch tree. The polysaccharides (complex sugars) in this product provide a favorable environment for the beneficial organisms living in the colon, as well as for the cells that line the colon, supporting healthy intestinal and immune function.* This product is offered as a mild-tasting powder that can be mixed into a variety of liquids, making it easy for children to take.

3. Myco-Immune

A liquid supplement presented in a dropper bottle – so it’s easy to give to children – Myco-Immune is a blend of extracts from six mushroom varieties with a long history of use in traditional medicine. These varieties (Cordyceps, Reishi, Maitake, Schizophyllum, Shiitake, and Coriolus) are well-researched and have been shown to support healthy immune function.*

Myco-Immune contains a tiny amount of alcohol due to the nature of the extracts; however, one serving is a small volume and it can be dispensed in another liquid to mask the taste and sensation of the alcohol if preferred.


References

1.  American Academy of Pediatrics supports childhood sleep guidelines. AAP.org. http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Supports-Childhood-Sleep-Guidelines.aspx. Accessed December 17, 2019.

2.  The water in you: Water and the human body. https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects. Accessed December 17, 2019.

3.  Blood Components | Community Blood Center. http://givingblood.org/about-blood/blood-components.aspx. Accessed December 19, 2019.

4. Youth Physical Activity Guidelines | Physical Activity | Healthy Schools | CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/guidelines.htm. Published September 6, 2019. Accessed December 18, 2019.