What healthy habits can you teach your child to prevent winter illnesses?
They must have good sleep hygiene: sufficient hours and a consistent routine.
- Under 6 years old: > 12 hours of nocturnal sleep and a nap (1.5 to 2 hours)
- From 6 years old: between 9 and 10 hours of nocturnal sleep
- Bedtimes must be sufficiently early on school days.
- Children should not sleep in for too long at weekends.
Sources of stress should be kept to a minimum and school/extracurricular life should be well-balanced.
According to PNNS recommendations, should engage in one hour of moderate intensity activity (everyday tasks) or high intensity activity (sports, games) per day to promote optimal development of muscle and bone tissue.
- Limit screen-time.
- Encourage an active lifestyle.
Children should eat a balanced diet (3 meals and 1 snack per day, 5 portions of fruit and vegetable per day, fish twice a week including one portion of oily fish) to ensure that they get all the nutrients they need, such as vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, B12, C, D3, E) and minerals (Zinc, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese, Molybdenum, Selenium).
Vitamins A, B6, B9, B12, C, D and certain minerals (copper, iron, selenium, zinc) are particularly well known for supporting the immune system.
Make sure that:
- They are well rested. A tired child is more likely to get sick.
- They wash their hands regularly.
- They are dressed appropriately (clothes that are sufficiently warm and dry, and a hat, scarf and gloves).
- They are up-to-date with their immunisations.
- They blow their nose properly.
- They have a clean nose (wash with a nasal spray).
- Their bedroom is aired daily.
- Their bedroom temperature should be between 18 and 20°C (don’t overheat their environment).
- They are not exposed to tobacco fumes.
Winter foods that are rich in vitamin C and should be eaten fresh: orange, kiwi, lemon, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower. The vitamin C found in these fruits and vegetables is well-known for supporting the immune system.