Going back to school can coincide with an influx of illnesses and colds, which means now is an ideal time to take a look at your family’s daily habits and establish new ones to support your overall health and well-being. Building and maintaining a healthy routine can make a huge impact on your immune health, and when the immune system is supported, everyone in your family (including you, mama) will be able to feel like their best selves.

Here are 6 easy immune-boosting tips for your family

1. Wash hands often

Washing hands often may be basic, but it’s so important! Frequent hand washing helps reduce initial exposure to immune challenges. Just be sure to wash for 20 to 40 seconds with warm water and soap. Now is the best time to teach your little ones how to do so properly so they can get into a routine of hand-washing when they come home from school and before eating meals.

Soapen kids hand soap three-pack immune boosters

SOAPEN

$16.29

Kids' Roll-On Hand Soap 3-Pack

Let creative kiddos get sudsy with the SoaPen, a hand soap pen for kids that helps them effectively wash their hands—by encouraging them to draw all over them.
SoaPen is made without SLS, parabens, phthalates, EDTA, or animal byproducts, and the unique formula is designed so that the drawings only rinse off once a child has washed their hands for the recommended 20-40 seconds. That means parents can check their work by looking for leftover marks!

2. Get quality sleep

Often overlooked but crucial for keeping the immune system in tip-top shape is getting enough restorative sleep. Adults should aim for at least 7 to 8 hours each night to recharge, and children typically need 9 to 11 consecutive hours.

With busy schedules and long to-do lists, this is easier said than done. If you or your kids have trouble getting to sleep, try incorporating a healthy sleep routine, such as turning off all screens at least an hour before bed, taking a warm bath or shower and setting the same bedtime each night. Our bodies respond well to a regular routine.

hatch kids light

Hatch

$69.99

Rest

Using the Hatch Rest is such a lifesaver. Not only is it a soothing sound machine, but you can create schedules for nap and bedtimes. Also, when your little is older, the time-to-wake feature is incredible. You can customize the colors so your child knows when it’s bedtime and when it’s OK to wake up and get up. We are actively using the Hatch for our 5-month-old and 4-year-old.

–Leigh Weinberg, Senior Manager, Client Services

Related: Ease into the back-to-school bedtime routine with these 5 tips

3. Boost your nutrition

Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables fuels the body with healthy antioxidants. Try to boost your family’s intake of nutritional powerhouses like leafy greens, dark berries and citrus fruits, which can help your body ward off viruses. If you have picky eaters in your house, try adding these foods to a morning smoothie. You can also add bananas, pineapple and frozen mangoes to sweeten the deal.

Tejari

Tejari

$10

Plant-Based Superfood Protein Powders

Give smoothies, pancakes, yogurt and even baked goods a boost that even the pickiest eaters will enjoy. The plant-based superfood packets from Tejari are made with kid-friendly organic pea protein as well as things like organic freeze dried banana, spinach and cacao which take foods they already know and love to the next level. They’re all expertly blended without added sugars or preservatives–is it any surprise they were created by a mom?

Prices start at $10

Related: 5 easy ways to help your picky eater get the nutrition they need

4. Take vitamin C

Don’t underestimate vitamin C, a key player in supporting a healthy immune response. Vitamin C accumulates in certain immune cells that help make up our defensive team. Interestingly, the vitamin is also stored in adrenal glands, where it’s used to make stress hormones. So, it stands to reason that when you’re under additional stress, you may want to supplement with additional vitamin C. Gummy vitamins are a tasty and easy way for families to get the boost they need.

Mary Ruth Organics Vitamin C Gummies for Kids

Mary Ruth Organics

$22.99

Vegan Vitamin C Gummies for Kids and Adults

Kids ages 2 and up can take one of these yummy vitamin C gummies per day—but they’re great for adults, too. Vegan, and free from dairy, gluten and soy, they contain 125 mg of vitamin C, which is 833% of the daily value for kids aged 2 to 3 (they’ll get a big immune boost when they need it!).

5. Lower your stress

Your body’s immune response works best when your body isn’t also dealing with stress response, according to studies about the connection between stress and immunity. Take time each day to de-stress in whatever way works best for you—exercise, deep breathing, a walk outdoors in the sunshine, having a tickle fight (or a snuggle fest) with your kids, going to therapy or engaging in a creative practice like writing, drawing or dancing can all help you de-stress and boost your immune system.

Related: 8 signs of stress in kids—and when to seek expert help

6. Take care of gut health

With 70 to 80% of the immune system residing along the gastrointestinal tract, there is a strong connection between gut microbiota and overall health. Simply put, when your gut bacteria colonies are in proper balance, then you have a thriving population of beneficial bacteria supporting your immune system. Foods that improve digestion and your microbiome include whole grains, leafy greens, lean proteins and low-sugar fruits and vegetables such as avocado and banana. Taking a daily probiotic can also cover your bases.

ritual synbiotic probiotic

Ritual

$50

Gut Health Synbiotic+

Synbiotic+ is a daily three-in-one prebiotic, probiotic, postbiotic supplement that features two of the world’s most clinically studied strains, BB-12 and LGG, to help support gut, digestive and immune health.

 

Related: Ara Katz wants kids to love their microbiomes

A version of this story was originally published on March 12, 2020. It has been updated.