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6 Ways to boost kids' immune system

Tracy B. McGinnis is creator of www.caffeinatedpen.comHer work has appeared in dozens of magazines on variety of topics. For more diet and fitness articles, click here.

Flu prevention tips for kids

We've all been re-trained to sneeze into our elbow and instructed on staying home when we're sick, but what can we do for our kids to prevent them from getting sick to begin with? A healthy immune system is your child's best defense against germs this season, and maintaining a fit one will help keep germs away.

Child sleeping with teddybearSleep off sicknesses

Dr. Plasker suggests getting at least eight hours of sleep a night to help boost your immune system, for younger children the amount of hours they should be tucked in bed is even more.

The National Sleep Foundation (www.sleepfoundation.org) offers these guidelines on various age group and how much sleep your child should be getting.

  • Newborns (10.5-18 hours of sleep)
  • Infants 3-11 months (9-12 hours of sleep at night, plus day naps of 2-4 hours)
  • Toddlers 1-3 years old (12-14 hours)
  • Preschoolers 3-5 years old (11-13 hours)
  • School-Age, 5-12 years old (10-11 hours )

Depending on how old your child is you will want to adjust and maintain bedtime routines and provide a safe, comfortable place for your child to rest.

When our bodies are sleeping, blood pressure drops, tissue growth and repair occurs, energy is restored, blood supply to muscles increases and hormones are released, among other things.

For more, read How to help your kids fall to sleep.

Next page: How that soccer or ballet class helps your child's immune system

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