Freezing cold temps are just around the corner which means a lot more time spent inside…and with that come increased germs circulating indoors. Stay one step ahead with the best immune booster for toddlers.
How can I boost my toddler’s immune system?
This article is not intended as medical advice. I am not a doctor or healthcare professional. Please seek the counsel of a trusted doctor before starting any supplement and or treatment. I am simply sharing what we do in our home.
This is one of the most asked questions by parents of little ones, myself included. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know of our toddler’s PFAPA syndrome diagnosis and what a journey it has taken us on.
Before his diagnosis, I kid you not, I read e v e r y t h i n g I could get my hands on to figure out how to keep my kid healthy! Here’s what my years of research boiled down to for immune support of young children especially during flu season:
- Give them a well-balanced diet. It all starts with feeding them the right foods.
- Healthy lifestyle choices. Spending time out side getting fresh air and plenty of sunshine, especially in the winter months.
- Supporting good gut bacteria with fermented foods and/or probiotic supplements.
- Make sure they get enough sleep every night.
- Encourage physical activity.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. They need to drink water every day.
- Last but not least lots and lots of loves and cuddles.
I heard somewhere once that you can’t boost the immune system but you can support your child’s overall health with healthy lifestyle choices.
After the journey we’ve been on with my son, I have to agree with that statement.
Let’s look a little deeper at the seven best immune boosters for toddlers:
1. Best Foods For a Healthy Immune System
Your family’s diet year round is super important.
Make sure to first of all try to limit highly processed foods and sugar.
Sugar especially is known for damaging the gut’s beneficial bacteria, so try to avoid it as much as possible when you can.
The best way to boost your child’s immune system is by feeding them whole foods and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
That’s the best way to make sure all the essential vitamins are absorbed into the body.
Include as many of these foods as you can:
Healthy fats like grass fed butter, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, eggs, fatty fish like salmon, and grass-fed beef.
Fresh fruits and veggies. Lots of leafy greens, citrus foods, sweet potatoes, pomegranates, avocados (also a source of healthy fats), kiwis, all kinds of berries, well you get the picture.
Encourage fresh fruit as a snack instead of packaged foods.
Whole grains. Best if you are able to bake breads yourself (bonus points if they’re sourdough). Oatmeal, quinoa and brown rice. homemade from scratch at home, try not to buy things like quaker instant oatmeal. They add so much sugar and other stuff to it that it ceases to be a healthy food.
Just buy the plain whole oats and cook yourself at home. You can sweeten it with fresh fruit, and maple syrup, It’s super easy I promise! Plus it’s cheaper too.
If you feed your family a well rounded diet from these foods they will get all the vitamins body’s need for good immune function.
2. Supporting a healthy gut goes hand in hand with a healthy diet.
Introduce as many fermented foods as you can from the time they are tiny. You want to be actively feeding the good bacteria in their gut.
Make kefir smoothies for breakfast. Let them have a sip of your kombucha, make sauerkraut or kimchi, homemade sourdough bread counts too.
If you introduce fermented foods at a really young age, you will have a better chance of them eating them and actually liking them.
I listened to the owner of Serenity Kids baby food once say that she waited to introduce any kind of sweets to her daughter until after she was eighteen months old.
I tried that with my now two and a half year old and he is not a picky eater at all. He will eat pretty much anything I give him, he even loves my homemade kombucha.
If your toddler definitely won’t eat or drink any fermented food then give a daily probiotic supplement with food.
3. Make sure they drink plenty of water
Remind them to drink water every day.
An easy way to do this is by making sure their water bottle is always filled and at their reach.
The rule of thumb according to Shannon Tripp, a pediatric RN, is for children to drink the same number of cups as their age.
One year old = 1 cup of water
Two years old = 2 cups of water
Three years old = 3 cups os water and so on until age ten.
4. Spend Time Outdoors
I know how cold it can get in the winter months, especially if you live in one of the northern states. But try to get your kids outside for even just five or ten minutes every day.
Most kids (and grown-ups) don’t get enough vitamin D in the winter months but sunlight is the best way for the body to absorb natural vitamin D.
Breathing in fresh air is also wonderful for mental health and problem solving. Toddler’s are always learning and figuring out how the world around them works, so this is just what they need.
Spending time outside is also one of the best ways to lower stress levels. Not that your toddler is stressed, but you might be mama, and your health is important too!
5. Physical Activity
Little kids have a ton of energy and they need to be active.
Ideally they would run, jump, climb, and explore when playing outside. But if going outside is just not an option make sure they still do all those things in the house.
Staying active has other health benefits too, like sweating out toxins and staying regular with bowel movements.
6. Good quality sleep every night -the best immune booster for toddlers?
Some people might argue that getting enough sleep every night is the best immune booster for toddlers.
The same goes for older children and the whole family.
the body restores itself and fights the first signs of infection while sleeping.
According to the CDC children ages 2-5 should be getting between ten to fourteen hours of sleep daily, including naps.
7. Love and Cuddles
Don’t ever underestimate the power of the love and care you show your kids every day.
Especially when they’re sick, cuddle those sweet babies. Hug and kiss them and rock them to sleep.
There have been a lot of study’s done on the subject. One by the University of Berkeley said that physical touch has been proven to raise cortisol levels and reduce stress hormones.
Frequent physical touch should begin from birth and not ever stop.
An article by webmd.com said “frequent physical touch helps to regulate sleep and digestion, build your immune system, and fight infections.” And we already said how important those things are for a strong immune system.
Best Immune Booster For Toddlers
*Optional- Best Vitamins for toddlers
Your child’s immune system should be in tip top shape if you’re already doing all the things listed above. But in the winter months it might be a good idea to add some natural supplements as well.
Since we’re not spending as much time as we should outside in the cold months, a daily vitamin D3 supplement is a good idea. As well as liquid zinc and vitamin C if they’re not eating enough citrus fruits.
Another thing I like to give my toddler (and my entire family) is a tablespoon of elderberry syrup every day.
Here’s an easy elderberry syrup recipe you can make at home.
Of course if you are dealing with autoimmune diseases make sure to ask your family’s pediatrician before giving an additional dietary supplement to your toddler.
Other Recommended Resources
These are some podcasts and books that have helped me do research and learn about how to really help my family stay healthy or how to nurture them back to health when they get sick.
- The book: How to raise a healthy child….In spite of your doctor by Robert S. Mendelsohn
- The Focus on the Family complete book of baby and child care
- Nourishing Traditions cook book by Sally Fallon.
- Podcast: Just Ingredients with Karalynne Call. She interviews so many pediatricians and answers all the questions we parents ask about children’s health. Just scroll through all the episodes and search for the best Dr. interviews.
- Podcast: Wise Traditions.
- westonaprice.org has so much information about food and essential nutrients the body needs to stay healthy.
I have also written a few related blog posts that might interest you as well:
- How to bring down baby’s fever naturally
- Elderberry Syrup + 32 more natural remedies
- Boost your immune system with six natural wellness habits
- Our family’s PFAPA syndrome story
- Natural at home remedies for treating mastitis
Closing Thoughts on best immune booster for toddlers
Okay friends, I hope this was helpful to you.
These seven things: nutrition, gut health, hydration, outdoor time and physical activity, quality sleep and love, are the best things we can do for our littles to hopefully prevent them from getting sick too often. Or at the very least shorten cold and flu symptoms when they do get sick.
If you have any additional questions or thoughts leave them in the comments section and I’ll do my best to respond as quickly as I can.
Again, please remember that I’m only sharing what we try to do in our home. This is mama to mama advise so please take it as such.
Thanks for spending a few minutes of your time here at keeper four home with me. I truly appreciate you being here and supporting this blog.
I hope you and your families stay safe and healthy this winter season.