We had a healthy holiday season in our house this time around, which is not always the case, so we’ve been feeling pretty great about that. However, two weeks into school (go figure), my son comes home with a nasty cold, cough, and general-feeling-rotten-all-over bug. When I call the school to let them know he’s not coming in, they tell me that half his class is sick too. It’s that time of year; it’s the cold weather; it’s the germ spreading hands and runny noses, and it’s just real life! And so as my week was turned upside down (because I work at home and that’s where my child has been), I was inspired to share a little of what we do in our house when someone is down with a bug, to help you in yours, and to help us all get our young ones back at it as quick as possible!
Let me just start with the #1 way to help nurture your sick children:
Keep Them At Home!
We’ve all made that mistake where we’ve sent our little one out the door not realizing how sick they were, or not quite listening to the little voice in our heads that’s told us they may not be well. It happens, I know. But for all the other times you have to make the call whether to send them or not, my advice to you is this: if you have to think about it, keep them at home. I can’t say this enough because the benefits blast to bits any reasons you may have for sending them to school. I realize it can be tough to manage, and often severely inconvenient, but there is just SO many valuable reasons to keep them at home, with you, and away from other kids.
6 Reasons to Keep Sick Kids At Home
- Keeps Sick Germs At Home: I feel that it’s our duty, as parents, to be on the same team as all the other parents in our community and this includes looking after their kids as much as we’d hope they’d look after ours. Sending your sick kiddo to school also sends their eager-to-latch-on-to-other-hosts nasty bugs and quite easily spreads around an illness that could have been limited to one household.
- Sending Them To School Can Prolong Illness: Exposing an already strained immune system to other kids exponentially increases the risk of picking up another virus. Kids are little germ-spreaders and a back-to-back illness episode means double trouble all the way around!
- Encourages Rest: When the body is busy trying to combat an illness, its energy is being primarily used for that battle. Expending further energy simply depletes the body’s limited energy stores further and decreases chances for optimal recovery (and we must remember that a full day at school is a huge energy expenditure for the little people).
- Ensures Maximum Nutrient Intake: Kids do not regulate their fuel and hydration in the same way that adults do, this is a learned behaviour. During times of healing, nutritional intake is vital to recovery speed. Keeping them under your care allows you to ensure proper nutrient intake and prioritize hydration.
- They Want To Be With You: Kids feel safest with their parents. When they’re feeling terrible or run-down, they want to feel safe, supported, and looked after. This feeling of safety can actually encourage the body to heal. When the body is relaxed, the parasympathetic nervous system takes over (calming & healing), supporting proper nerve transmission and a state of rejuvenation.
- Encourages Mind-Body Connection and Intuition: Teaching kids to make their health a priority teaches them how to nurture themselves when they are sick: a super important life lesson, in my books. Showing them how important it is to take time to heal, to nurture and rest, sets them up with tools they can use throughout their lives.
So, now that you’ve got them at home, here are some easy and effective ways to get them back to feeling great (and to school)!
10 Tips To Get Your Littles Back To Health Quickly
- Liquids: Fresh juices, water, and teas are the way to go here. Some of our favourites are room temperature lemon water (detoxifying, high in Vit. C, alkalizing, supports lymph, kidneys, and liver), fresh ginger tea with lemon and manuka honey (boosts immune, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory), or freshly juiced apples/oranges and ginger (nutrient dense).
- Bone Broth Based Soups: At first sign of an illness, I take a whole chicken out of the freezer, defrost it, and get it cooking in the slow cooker. I will then debone it and make the bone broth in the same slow cooker overnight or for up to 48 hours. The benefits of bone broth are endless, especially during a time when the body is taxed and working hard to regain balance. For more on bone broth, click here.
- Reduce Mucus Causing Foods: Certain foods contribute to mucus formation in the body. Limiting these foods during times of illness can be very helpful. Some main culprits: dairy (yes, all kinds), wheat, bananas, soy, red meat, and refined sugars.
- Fresh Air: Unless kids are bed-ridden or extremely ill, getting a little fresh air into the lungs, some sun on the face, and introducing a change of atmosphere, are all great reasons to get them outside, if even for a short walk.
- Prioritize Sleep: So many of us know this, but need reminders. Here’s yours! Sleep is where the bulk of the healing happens: maximizing these hours can give us big-time headway on an illness.
- Give Them Probiotics: 80% of our immune system is in our intestines, populating the gut with good bacteria is essential to supporting the body through recovery from illness. Whether you have probiotic supplements or homemade kombucha, kimchi, kefir, or Bio-K’s, find a way to include probiotics in their regular diet or as supplement for at least a week, preferably a month, after first sign of illness.
- Lots of Good Quality Fats: Fats are integral to organ healing and regeneration, they are also highly supportive of immune function, proper digestion, and insulation during times of duress. Fats such as coconut oil, avocados, olive oil, avocado oil, hemp seed/flaxseed oil, or chia seeds and hemp hearts are all good sources for kids.
- Use A Diffuser: Diffusers are becoming more and more common in households these days and for good reason. Essential oils have healing powers of an altogether new level for us in the health world. Some of our favourites: theives oil, eucalyptus, lemongrass, tea tree, lemon, thyme, and rosemary. Want to learn more about essential oils? Start here
- Keep Them Warm: Whether there’s a fever or not, keeping the body warm encourages blood transportation, lymph regulation, and proper detoxification during illness.
- Boost The Immune System: All of the above will help support the immune system, but adding in some particular immune strengtheners can really up your game. Trusted immune support for kids: fresh ginger, turmeric, garlic, and onions, oil of oregano, manuka honey, Vitamin C and D, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, elderberry, echinacea and goldenseal (*find supplements in suitable doses for children*). At our house, we love this homemade kick-ass throat serum!
Kids come first, that’s our commitment as parents. Every illness that comes along and is dealt with naturally, accumulates to create strong immune systems and confident, happy kiddos.
Keep it up parents, the pay-off is endless!