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3 Tips for Good Winter Health

by Ronald A. Rowe | January 21st, 2015 | Elementary, Seasonal

child playing in snow (400x400)A couple weeks back we touched on the subject of helping your elementary child avoid colds and flu this winter.  As incidents of cold and flu have only escalated since then I think we’d do well to take a more in depth look at some of the things that we can do to improve our children’s chances of making it through the winter months unscathed by the dreaded virus.  We all know about vitamin C and hand washing but here are 3 lesser-known rules to help ensure a healthy and happy winter for you and your child.

#1 Sleep

Growing children should be getting 9-10 hours of sleep each and every night.  The ugly truth is that it does not happen nearly as much as it ought to.  Sleep is the body’s natural time to restore and rejuvenate.  Those processes are essential to keeping the immune system humming.  By repeatedly short-changing themselves on sleep, children are opening up doors to unwanted illness.  Help your child get the requisite amount of sleep by sending them to bed on time with a proper buffer between the bustle of the day and the soothing wonder of sleep.  If bedtime is 9:00, your child should not be eating candy, playing video games, or watching TV at 8:59.  The body and mind need time to wind down.  Give your child a buffer of calming activities before the official bedtime to ensure that they are getting off to sleep in a reasonable timeframe.  Children at this age don’t understand the body’s warning signs well enough to force themselves to get enough sleep.  We need to take an active role.

#2 Eat Right

Adding a vitamin C tablet to your child’s daily routine is one thing but providing foods that supply C and other vitamins naturally is even better.  Wholesome foods that provide an appropriate balanced diet will do more to boost the immune system than any pill you can buy at the health food store.  Even good foods, like milk, can turn against you in the winter war against illness.  Milk, which is essential for proper bone growth, is also an excellent producer of mucus.  And mucus is the prime breeding ground for the awful stuff that turns into the flu.  Limiting (but not eliminating) dairy and adding healthy herbs to your child’s diet will help to regulate mucus.  That coupled with healthier, vitamin-rich eating will go a long way toward holding off the flu.

#3 Do Unto Thyself

Don’t neglect to care for yourself and don’t exempt yourself from the requirements for good winter health.  When you go down with the flu, the whole family suffers.  Plus, kids learn a whole lot more from what we say than from what we do.  Lead by example and take care of yourself by getting plenty of sleep and adjusting your winter eating habits.  There’s no guarantee that you or your family will come through the winter without a flu spell, but by following these three steps you can increase your chances.

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