During the cold and flu season, I admit that I worry often about my children getting really sick. It just takes so much out of them and of us as parents and it seems to take forever to get our lives back on track once illness has ravaged our family!
About three years ago, I started getting more into natural remedies and healthy living. I wrote about how we got rid of chemicals and embraced a more natural lifestyle in my Slowly Becoming Natural series.
I kid you not, when we started using natural cleaning supplies, natural remedies and eating better, there has been a very noticeable change to our family’s health. One of the best examples of this is that our kids get sick much less than before. And when they do fall ill, they bounce back quickly.
I certainly am not perfect in this area, but we have found that it’s very helpful to boost our children’s immunity as much as we can when we’re in the thick of the cold and flu season. These are simple steps that can be taken even if you don’t have a lot of experience in “natural living” that can make a big difference in your family’s health!
5 Natural Ways to Boost Your Child’s Immunity During Cold and Flu Season
1. Washing Your Hands (or using the right kind of hand sanitizer).
I know, I know, we’ve heard this forever but time and time again this has proven to be the single best way to stop the spread of germs. Whether your kids go to school or not, they pick up all sorts of nonsense everywhere they go! We do too! Immediately after we get home from anywhere, I send my four kids (well, I help the two year old) straight to the bathroom to scrub with warm water and soap for 30 seconds and then (gently!) scrape their fingers into their palms (gets out the junk underneath their fingernails) before rinsing the germs down the drain.
Need an on-the-go solution?
Try this Simple DIY Hand Sanitizer made with essential oils!
(This is the brand of essential oils we use.)
OR, just order some natural hand sanitizer spray. We’ve used this kind from Grove Collaborative for several years. It’s safe, effective and my kids really like the scent. The spray bottle doesn’t leak and it lasts a long time too!
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(I’m an affiliate for Grove, which means I do get a small credit if you purchase through my link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra to shop through my link! Thanks for your support!)
2. Take Elderberry syrup.
Elderberry has been used for centuries for prevention and treatment of colds and flu symptoms! It is a highly effective preventative tool, loaded with antioxidants, Vitamin C and immune boosting minerals.
One study showed that symptoms of the flu were relieved 4 days earlier with the use of elderberry and numerous others have been conducted. This is our favorite brand of Elderberry Syrup. You can also make your own and I’ll be sharing a recipe soon!
3. Incorporate Whole Foods into Every Meal
Sometimes we don’t have control over what our children are eating, but I have noticed a difference in our kids’ health as we have been intentional about serving them foods that contain real nutrients.
Whole, real foods, those that are plant based and not processed, give our body the nutrition it craves, raising our natural immunities to invaders.
Here are a few items we have swapped or added to our family’s diet to incorporate more whole foods over the past three years:
- Swapping sugary cereals for oatmeal and fruit at breakfast, as well as eggs if we have time. (It was hard for me to say goodbye to my favorite cinnamon sugar poptarts, but now I wonder why I ever ate them!)
- Swapping chips for veggies at mealtimes. I started making sweet potato fries (homemade), roasted potatoes, these unbelievably good parmesan cauliflower bites and sauteed broccoli and beans. Homemade dill pickles are yummy too! It did take awhile to change our children’s tastes, but they honestly gobble them up now. Patient persistence and not forcing our kids to eat them (we did make them take one bite) got us to where we are today, so don’t lose hope! Occasionally we do have kettle chips for a side, a treat is okay!
- Swapping flavored yogurt for plain Greek yogurt with honey and fruit. Have you read the ingredients on flavored yogurt containers? Yuck! Believe me, there is no condemnation here, we ate those for years, but all of a sudden, when I started to understand the effect artificial ingredients had on our health, it was a no-brainer to replace them with plain yogurt. It did take awhile for our taste buds to adjust but now we love it!
- Cutting down on sweets and eating fruit instead. One of our favorite treats to have is fresh fruit. We do have desserts from time to time, but I like to try and make them real fruit popsicles (I buy them at Sam’s Club) or a healthier version of cookies (like these pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies).
But what about if your kids are still picky eaters? What about the times it’s hard to get it all the fruits and veggies they need every day? The answer to that question is in my next suggestion :)
4. Make Juice Plus+ a part of your everyday diet.
So speaking of whole foods….our family has been using Juice Plus+ for several months, which is whole food based nutrition, taken as a capsule or a chewable! I also drink a Juice Plus+ Complete shake every morning, which is a plant-based protein and whole food shake that actually tastes good and keeps me energized and focused on eating well. I am naturally skeptical of these types of things but I am honest to goodness sold on Juice Plus+ because the results are undeniable.
Our kiddos LOVE the chewables (psst…I love them too), and when we recently ran out, our two year old asked, “where my pink biteamin?” referring to her Orchard Blend Juice Plus+ chewable! She was a bit incorrect, because Juice Plus+ is not a vitamin, but instead contains 30 nutritionally dense fruits and vegetables in the form of juice (and juice powder if you take the capsules).
It really helps bridge the gap between what we should eat and what we do eat in terms of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that boost our natural immunity and help our body work as it should.
It is especially helpful for our toddler, who is a picky eater right now and doesn’t finish most of vegetables or fruits we want her to eat.
Our kids take their Juice Plus+ chewables at no cost! To find out how you can get Juice Plus+ chewables for your child for free, here is some helpful information! Or you can send me an email at thepurposefulmom at live dot com if you have questions!
5. Be Intentional about Rest
This is SO hard, especially as our kids get older, to get them to bed on time. It seems like we do more running around and have more events that go later, so we need to regroup on this a little bit in the new year. But it truly is beneficial for kids to get as much rest as possible and keep bedtimes on time.
Getting kids to bed early actually helps them to sleep longer, when they stay up later than necessary it upsets their circadian rhythm (hence why we sometimes get hyper, overtired kids if we let them stay up past their bedtimes). Rest truly allows our body to protect itself!
Certainly, our children will still get sick sometimes. It’s part of life. But by boosting their immunity in natural ways, we are not only nourishing their bodies but also teaching them to make healthy choices for themselves when they get older. Our kids also bounce back much quicker when their immunity is strong, making a much easier winter season for parents and children!