By Dr Joanna McMillan

Kids and parents need to be clever with their nutrients and vitamins to help support their immune systems, to help protect against all the other germs they’ll face, either in the classroom or at home.

For kids heading back to school or daycare it can be a double-edged sword for parents. On the one hand it’s great to have them out of the house and back in the routine and busyness of school.

On the other, it often means they are sick more often. Contact with lots of other kids means contact with more bugs and, especially with younger children, this means more bouts of common infections like gastro, coughs and colds.

Parents with children under four say that immune system (47%) is their top priority when it comes to their children’s immediate health according to new research from Bubs Australia.

So, what can we do to ensure they have a tip top immune system that is fighting fit to take on whatever infections come into their path?  

Kids heading back to school means they have more contact with other kids and germs.

Here are 5 tips to combat the dreaded back to school germs and support their immunity

  • Be prepared: Get the balance right between teaching them good hygiene practices to help them to avoid germs, while not being an overzealous germaphobe.The pandemic has taught us several good practices, such as hand washing with soap and water. You can also make sure your children’s bags are packed with the essentials to help them stay protected while out and about such as hand sanitiser and tissues. Bubs Australia research reveals that 38% of parents say they are looking or planning to look for more products to support their child’s immunity now than a year ago.
  • Importance of mealtimes: Make healthy eating something the whole family just does. Kids learn from the people around them and as parents or guardians, as they are watching and copying. If eating whole food, balanced meals is normal that is what they will eat. A healthy diet is what will give them the nutrients their bodies need for good immune function including vitamin C, zinc and iron.

According to research, more parents are looking to support their child’s immunity now compared to a year ago.

  • Fibre intake: Ensure you include plenty of fibre-rich plant foods such as wholegrains, legumes, veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds. This diversity of fibre types is what encourages a diverse microbiome and this ‘trains’ their immune systems, helping it work as it should. The majority of parents agree that fruit and vegetable intake (51%) and a balanced diet (51%) are the most important factors inbuilding the immunity of their child, according to Bubs Australia.
  • Don’t be afraid to supplement: Consider a supplement to help top up key nutrients, particularly if your child is a fussy eater, has food restrictions for any reason, including vegetarians, or you just struggle to always maintain a healthy diet. A multivitamin and mineral can be a good safety measure.

Make healthy eating something the whole family just does.

  • Let them be kids: Allow lots of time outdoors in the park, the beach or the garden, being exposed to the flora of microorganisms around them, rather than a bleached, chemical-laden floor in a house with closed windows and little air movement.As the adage goes, laughter really is the best medicine. Laughing lowers the levels of stress hormones, while simultaneously supporting white blood cells that are responsible for fighting infection.

Bubs® Australia provides nutritional support to parents seeking to give their children a well-rounded diet full of important vitamins and minerals.