I’ll bet there’s one mum you meet at the school gate who constantly boasts about how her little ones just never ever get sick. Yes, we hate her! But yes, we also want to know how she does it!
How does she do it? Do her little ones just have better genes? The answer is probably no. Her kids are no different to yours – the likelihood is they just might stick to a few helpful healthy habits a bit more closely.
Read on below and we take a deeper dive into four secret habits of children who rarely get sick.
They keep those hands clean
Kids are curious little devils aren’t they? Given the chance they will quite literally get their fingers into everything they can find. You can’t fault their curiosity. The problems begin when they start then putting those same fingers into their mouths – or worst still, each others mouths. Ugh!
Getting your tots into the habit of regular hand-washing can have dramatic impact on how frequently they will catch those pesky little stomach bugs or those niggling coughs and colds.
Think of every activity as a sentence and handwashing as a full stop. Played in the garden, time for a hand wash. Leaving creche, time for a hand wash. Been to the bathroom, definitely time for a hand wash. Etc, etc, etc.
If you’re out and about and away from soap and water, then those little bottles of hand sanitiser are brilliant travelling companions.
They eat their vegetables, all of them
You’ve probably noticed that your child regularly needs feeding – greedy things!
What you choose to fuel them with can have a very big impact on how healthy they are. Both in terms of weight (and all the added health complications that brings) but also in terms of keeping them topped up with all the nutrients a growing body needs.
The more colourful and more fresh a diet you can provide to your children, the stronger their immune system will be. Fruits and veggies, of all shapes and sizes, will do wonders for your for their ability to fend off sickness. The more of these you can squeeze into their little mouths the better.
Obviously the battle to get kids to eat up their greens is one as old as time. Fortunately Jamie has a few helpful tips to help us out. Pukka mate!
They sleep well, really well
You might think that sleep-deprivation is something that just affects you, the poor overworked and underappreciated parent. You’d be surprised!
It’s now being reported than the current generation of children are suffering more sleeping problems than any other time in our history. Yikes!
Children need far more sleep than many people realise. How much? Well, to be honest as much as possible. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that children between 3 and 5 require 10 to 13 hours; while those of school age (between 6 and 13) need 9 to 11 hours. So yeah, it’s probably more than you think!
Sleep deprivation in anyone is bad news but in children it’s really bad news. A lack of quality kip can negatively impact their brain development as well as their emotional and behavioural functioning.
Plus it does terrible things for their immune system. The worse they sleep, the less able their little bodies will be able to protect themselves against bacteria and viruses they pick up from any sickly school friends. This means more colds, more flu and a never ending procession of stomach bugs.
There are many ways to improve the odds your brood will get better sleep. This could be banning screens in the evening, ensuring they get sufficient exercise during the day, making sure the mattress they’re sleeping on is fit for purpose, or simply reducing the amount of sugar in their diet.
They get their vaccinations, all of them
While there’s a lot of debate online regarding vaccinations, there isn’t when it comes to the overwhelming medical evidence in favour of them. Vaccines will do wonders in preventing your children from coming down with a bout of otherwise avoidable conditions like chickenpox, measles or mumps.
It’s likely your doctor will recommend all the relevant vaccines when the time is right for your child to get them, but if you feel like you may have missed something don’t be afraid to make an appointment and ask.
The annual flu vaccine offered by the NHS is very important, while it won’t protect your little ones against every single cough and cold going, it could mean the difference between a flu free winter for them and an otherwise very unpleasant snot-filled time. It could also save you a small fortune on tissues!
Well there you have it – four little things that likely link those invincible children who never seem to get sick. Give them a go and soon you too could be boasting at the school gate. Prepare to be hated!
This post is in collaboration with sleepadvisor.org