Check out these 10 natural ways you can help boost your toddler’s immunity and keep them happy and healthy all year long!
No one said that motherhood would be easy, but there aren’t too many things worse than a sick toddler.
Whether it’s a simple seasonal cold or a full-out stomach bug, it’s always hard to see your little one unwell and in pain.
The first time my son got sick, I hate to admit it but, I cried.
I mean, I didn’t ugly cry, but I definitely shed a few tears for my little man.
He had come down with RSV and had to receive breathing treatments via a nebulizer in order to get better.
He was also prescribed antibiotics and a steroid to be taken by mouth.
I’m personally not a huge fan of taking medication – unless absolutely necessary…but I digress.
Most medications, while effective, pretty much destroy the immune system’s natural ability to fight off infections and diseases.
So once my son had finished his round of antibiotics, I vowed to do everything in my power to strengthen his immune system.
Since then, aside from the teething-related fevers and one random runny nose this past winter, he has only been sick one other time with Pediatric RAD (Reactive Airway Disease) triggered by this wonderful, pollen-filled spring weather.
That said, I strongly believe that he is healthier due to the small lifestyle changes that I made once he recovered from RSV.
So if your looking for simple, natural ways to strengthen your little one’s immune system, you’re in the right place!
Here are the 10 things that I did to naturally boost my toddler’s immunity.
I am not a medical professional, and this content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice.
Always consult with your child’s pediatrician or other health professional before making changes and/or adding supplements to your child’s diet.
A Diet High In Fruit & Vegetables
I know, I know!
I HAVE to say it!
A healthy, well-balanced diet is essential for a strong immune system.
I try to make sure that at least 60-70% of my son’s daily intake comes from fruit and vegetables.
Needless to say, we eat a lot of bananas, applesauce, broccoli, tomatoes, pickles (he loves them for some reason), grapes, and sweet potatoes around here.
If you need some meal inspiration, check out these 40 toddler meal ideas for busy moms.
Avoid Processed Foods & Sugar
Unfortunately, processed foods are widely popular in our culture.
While avoiding processed foods completely could be a bit unrealistic, there are definitely a few common additives that you should always try to avoid if possible.
High Fructose Corn Syrup, MSG, Aspartame, and Food Dyes are a few of the most common food additives.
I could write an article alone on the adverse side effects that come as a result of ingesting these additives.
BUT, I’ll just say that they’ve been known to cause a variety of ailments like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, thyroid cancer, and depression just to name a few.
Instead, stick to tip #1, and include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your child’s diet.
Invest In A Good Probiotic
Probiotics are supplements that contain ‘good bacteria’ and can aid in fighting against the bad bacteria in your body.
They are mainly known for helping to keep your ‘gut’ healthy.
They can also help provide relief from diarrhea and IBS.
The first probiotic we used was this one by Mommy Bliss. It works great and I’m pretty sure I’ll use it once our next little one is born since it’s suitable for newborns and up!
Now that our son is almost two, we’ll be switching to this one by Culturelle.
I’ve also heard great things about Garden of Life’s Raw Probiotics for Kids. They’re suitable for babies 3 months and up!
Add Elderberry Syrup To Daily Regime
Elderberry has been used as a natural remedy for ages!
In addition to being a great immune booster, elderberry is also known to provide relief from the cold and flu.
While it is possible to make your own elderberry syrup, we opted to pick some up from our local health food store.
This is the brand that we use currently and we have been loving it. My son also loves the taste so that’s a plus!
Get enough Vitamin D (sunlight)
Sunlight is the best natural source of vitamin D!
I know it sounds old school, but it’s true!
While you can opt to give your child a vitamin D supplement, it’s a lot more fun to get outside and get the vitamin D for free!
However, in order to properly get the benefits of sunlight without harming your child’s skin, it’s important to use sunscreen!
Babyganics makes a great mineral-based sunscreen that provides both UVA and UVB protection.
In addition to the sunscreen lotion, they also make a spray that’s a bit easier to rub in.
Drink Plenty of water
I mean, I HAD to include water on this list.
It’s easy for our little ones to fill up on fruit juice and milk, but it’s soo important that your child is getting an adequate amount of water each day.
It’s no secret that we are made mostly of water.
Therefore, it should be the liquid that your child consumes the most.
I try to always serve my son water cold, as he has made it clear that he is not a fan of room-temperature water.
You may have to get creative if your little one isn’t big on water, but they’ll get used to it over time.
Invest In A Good Multivitamin
Multivitamins are a great way to supplement your little one’s diet.
When our son started eating solid foods, we realized that there were certain foods that he was simply not a fan of.
That’s when we started giving him a multivitamin to make up for the extra nutrients that he wasn’t getting.
We use this one by Zarbee’s and we love it! It has vitamins A, C, & D, and also has iron in it!
It can be used from 2 months and up so I’m pretty sure we’ll be using it a lot sooner than we did with our oldest once our newest addition arrives.
That said, once our oldest turns two, we’ll likely switch to these in order to give him even more nutrients and vitamins.
If you read my exclusive pumping journey, you know that I exclusively pumped for about 8 months and then we had to transition to formula.
Once he turned a year old, I weaned him completely off of formula, but I wasn’t interested in transitioning him to whole milk.
My husband and I don’t drink whole milk, and so naturally, we didn’t want our children to either.
We ended up transitioning him to unsweetened almond milk and he sometimes even drinks coconut milk.
We also limit his cheese intake as it gives him terrible gas.
It’s possible that diary can have a negative effect on your overall gut health – especially with the risk of consuming antibiotics in cows milk, so we just avoid it entirely.
Get enough sleep
I don’t know about you, but if my son doesn’t get his daily nap, he is a completely different child.
And rightfully so!
A child that is overly stimulated and tired will be irritable, cranky, and will likely have a tough time falling asleep at bed time.
That said, sleep is absolutely necessary for proper regulation and overall health.
A lot of our children’s growth happens while they’re sleeping, and studies have shown that not getting an adequate amount of sleep can negatively impact the immune system.
Researchers have also discovered that children who slept less than 12hrs were more likely to develop obesity in the future.
Needless to say, our little ones need their sleep!
Exercise is just as important for toddlers as it is for adults.
At this age, most toddlers are all over the place, and burning tons of energy by simply playing and running around the house.
However, it’s important that our little ones get some type of exercise.
This doesn’t have to mean that you have to pull out the jump rope and run laps around the neighborhood.
It’s better for exercise to seem like play for kids.
That way they get all the benefits while also enjoying the activity itself.
A simple trip to the park is perfect for this. They’ll be getting tons of sunlight (vitamin D), and exercise at the same time!
Incorporating each of these tips into your child’s daily regime doesn’t mean that your little one will never get sick.
However, a strong immune system will be able to fight infections and viruses more efficiently, and as a result, cut the time that your child would be sick in half.
What tips and tricks do you use to help boost your child’s immune system?
Let me know in the comments!