Many parents are asking how to strengthen their child’s immune system this fall, to help prevent catching colds and also the flu. The immune system is basically a bunch of different types of cells that together fight bacteria and viruses that cause infection. Many children get sick in the fall as they return to school and daycare where they are exposed to a variety of bugs. Their immune systems are still growing and developing, so they are more likely to get sick than adults. There are several factors that can influence how healthy and robust a child’s immune system is. Follow these steps to boost your child’s immune system and help them stay healthy through this cold and flu season.
What a winter we have had! But the cold should not keep Canadian families indoors. Bundle up, get outside and get physically active every day with one of our 10 outdoor winter activities for kids. Why? Because active play is essential to every child’s physical, cognitive, emotional and social development—even in winter. Unfortunately, one study shows Canadian kids spend only three hours per week playing actively in the winter, compared to four and a half hours in summer. (via www.participACTION.com). A part of this lack of play during the winter months is due to the four main barriers to play; safety concerns, too much screen time, unruly weather and not enough hours in the day.
According to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, but only five per cent of children in Canada are meeting the guideline. We’ve racked our brains for outside winter play ideas and think you’ll be excited by the results:
1. Use the time after school or after activities when lots of kids are around to structure playtime. 30 minutes of tag, soccer or snow play can impact kids’ fitness levels significantly.
2. In a cold climate? Pack a hot chocolate picnic and find a frozen lake or snow-covered toboggan hill. Reward the kids afterwards with jammies and a movie under the covers. (It’s also budget-friendly!)
3. Encourage your kids to have a race around the block and make ‘Olympic’ medals for participants.
4. Scour yard sales and second hand stores throughout the year and pick up snowshoes or cross-country skis. These activities are fun for the family and help everyone (ahem) break a sweat.
5. Use different months of the winter to structure activities to raise money – October is breast cancer month, January is Personal Self-Defense Awareness Month and February is diabetes. You can find a full list of months and their meanings here – we’re willing to bet you can structure a tae kwon do or skipping fundraiser for a great cause!
6. Shut off screens and let the kids get bored. It’s amazing how this stimulates imagination.
7. Darkness and safety concerns can be a barrier. Why not organize a ‘party’ outside on a Friday evening with lots of kids, parents to supervise and flashlights to illuminate! Dodgeball, Capture the Flag, What Time is it Mr. Wolf and relay races can be great bonding exercises for both big and little players.
8. The Girl Guides are a great group, and we can’t say it any better than they have! Here is a comprehensive list of winter games that also help teach a few lessons.
9. Geocaching is an incredible adventure that incorporates travel and orienteering. It’s a great travel-focused activity for kids that can be found worldwide.
10. Often winter brings not only deep freezing but deep discounts. Bundle up and take advantage of inexpensive canoe rentals and less expensive winter camping sites (if safety and lakes permit). Just be sure to protect yourself from frostbite and weather. And don’t forget the hot chocolate!
More ideas? Let us know, and have fun outside!
Many readers know that my son went through colic. But I’ve never really admitted the full extent of the turmoil that swept our house for 18 months. So in the spirit of our new blog, I will dish it. I was kicked out of mommy and me pilates. (Twice). And then excused from a breastfeeding group with nurses due to the excessive noise. People would come up to me on the street with advice (constructive criticism..). “I think he’s hungry! Wet! Tired! Overstimulated!”
What kind of mother would take a child that screams for an hour into a grocery store? The kind that needs groceries and has no other option, thank you. If you would care to watch him at home while I shop I would be grateful. But he will cry – no matter how many needs you satisfy. And he won’t get tired BY THE WAY – not even after 4 hours straight. It went on and on, and experts weighed in as close friends worried my husband and I would drive off a dock hurdling the whole family into the ocean in our LandRover.
Along with the other suggested colic remedies, we were introduced to Boiron camilia. I had used their arnica montana as a homeopathic remedy after giving birth and we decided to try the camilia. Typically recommended for teething, this natural herb is free of acetominiphen and anisthetics and is fully safe for babies. More important, it had a calming effect on our little (screamer) monkey. You twist the tip off the plastic tube of the convenient individual dose and can even slip the liquid into baby’s mouth while nursing (or better yet, have them pretend it’s a nipple and suck it out). We would have ‘picnics’ and I would have chamomile tea when he had his ‘medicine’.
Now that my two boys are bigger, though not quieter (now they never stop talking), they catch colds at school and get boo boos as they tumble. Insect bites while tree climbing are common. Boiron has (thankfully) expanded their lineup so I can keep curing the boys with natural medicines.
DAPIS gel is an ointment to relieve hives, itching and promote the healing of insect bites. Now they tell me. (I didn’t have to buy all of that mosquito netting after all.) The flip cap ensures a tidy application and the 40g tube is easy to slip into a purse or diaper bag.
I was one of those parents taken aback by the research on and subsequent removal of traditional childrens’ cough syrups from the pharmacy shelves. And it, of course, became another bone of contention with the older generation, “Well I gave it to you and you turned out fine! Kids these days…” Thankfully, STODAL honey-based cough syrup is great for kids over one year of age and – ahem – looks like any other ‘traditional’ cough syrup. So your mom doesn’t need to know that you’ve changed up the parenting practices. It’s so yummy my kids keep asking for it on their pancakes. When you come from Canada and it ousts maple syrup you know you’re onto something. (It now also comes in sugar-free). Unfortunately it doesn’t make the kids drowsy, so they keep talking and talking, but at least they’re not keeping me up at night with the cough. And I have Boiron camilia with my nighttime tea, so I’m relaxed anyway.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Boiron. As always our opinions are our own.
AAAH-CHOO! I hab a cold in my node. And I just raided the kid’s medicine cabinet to fix it! I always used Boiron’s Camilia for the teething pain, so was thrilled to hear that they’ve developed natural medicines for children’s cough, cold and flu. Boiron’s Stodal for coughs is specifically formulated for children 1 year and older, tastes like honey, is toxin-, dextromethorphan- and guaifenesin-free and boasts no alcohol, no artificial colorings or flavorings. MMMM. www.boiron.ca