Wintertime can be harsh on your immune system, but even more so for younger children. Children haven’t thoroughly developed their resistance to disease and rough environmental conditions, meaning they’re far more likely to catch colds. Combine this with going to school, where kids might be sick and spreading illness, and your kids can be incredibly vulnerable to health issues during the wintertime.
However, that doesn’t mean your kids have to deal with the standard cold every single winter. There are a few simple tips and tricks you can use to help keeps your kids healthy all through the colder months of the year. Make sure your kids make it through the winter without some of the more common health issues with these simple tips.
During colder seasons, it can be easy to essentially “hibernate,” staying inside as often as possible and not getting as much exercise as usual. Over 36 million kids in the U.S. play organized sports each year, but during the winter, kids tend to skip on sports and stay indoors. This can lead to your kids being more susceptible to health problems. A lack of vitamin D, caused by reduced sun exposure, is thought to reduce fat breakdown and trigger fat storage. This can lead to an average weight gain of two to four pounds each year in autumn and winter. To keep your kids healthy, make sure they keep up with any sports or outdoor activities, even during the winter as long as weather permits.
Winter comes with a wide variety of holidays that often encourage indulging in meals that aren’t incredibly healthy. While an occasional indulgent meal is okay, feeding your kids healthy food throughout the year is important. Look for what vegetables your kids enjoy, and aim to focus meals around those as major ingredients. Additionally, be careful with how many sweets you give your kids. Make them an occasional treat, rather than a constant part of a diet.
Keep Sick Kids Home
This may seem like common sense, but if your kids are showing signs of illness, keep them home from school. This also includes kids who go to smaller class sizes; while there might not be as many kids that may get sick as a result of your child attending, illness can still spread to a shocking number of kids relatively quickly. Private schools enroll 10% of all PK-12 students, so even if your child goes to a small private school, illness can spread rapidly. Additionally, keeping your child at home gives them the time they’ll need to recover from illness.
Encourage Healthy Habits
Small habits throughout the year can add up when it comes to seasonal preparation for health. Washing hands regularly, hydrating enough, and practicing proper hygiene can help keep your child healthy and protected from common winter illnesses. These habits are more easily adopted by children when first modeled by parents, so set a good example for your children by practicing these for yourself year-round.
Attend Regular Check-Ups
If it’s been a few months since you last scheduled an appointment with a pediatrician for your child, now might be a good time to do it. Regular appointments can make sure your child stays vaccinated and protected against illness, while also catching symptoms of health problems early. Don’t forget to schedule a dentist appointment as well; the AAPD recommends that kids and teens see a pediatric dentist every six months for regular checkups.
Staying healthy during the winter can be a challenge for both you and your kids, but using these tips can help keep your kids in good health year round. How will you protect your children’s health during the colder seasons this year?