We would like to introduce a Well Kiddos contributor, Joanna Goodwin, and share her view on how to nourish sick kids.
Joanna is a lifestyle and health coach who is passionate about helping busy and active individuals live a vibrant, balanced life. She has a B.S. in Sports Medicine from Pepperdine University and is a Certified Nutrition Educator. To learn more visit www.joannargoodwin.com.
Nobody likes to be sick. How you deal with illnesses, both major and minor can have a big affect on your child’s health in the present and future. In my experience children can have a harder time dealing with illness because they don’t have control over the choices made regarding their health. Here are 5 tips to help everyone handle and recover from sickness easier and quicker. These techniques are used by my mom, myself, and recommended by other parents and professionals. All children are different and some aliments are trickier to tackle than others, so know your kids and yourself and adjust accordingly.
Stay Positive & Calm: We all know kids are great at picking up on our moods and stress levels. Eliminate negative talk and thoughts regarding your child’s illness and being sick in general. Reinforce how strong and healthy they are, especially when they’re feeling down. The mind is very powerful when it comes to personal health and well being. Staying calm and positive when discussing and treating an illness is important for your child’s physical and emotional health. When they see you modeling the right behavior and attitude they will follow suit.
Be Empathetic: It’s important to understand their feelings, like I said children can often times feel out of control when they are sick. Be extra empathetic and work to understand how they feel and what’s bothering them, both physically and emotionally. This will help you communicate better and more fully understand how illnesses affect them. Each person’s body and immune system is different and reacts differently when exposed to viruses and bacteria. Understanding what’s happening with your child will help you, help them, get well faster.
Get Them Involved: Your child should be actively involved in their own healing process. They need to be aware of how they feel and make decisions regarding what to do to help them feel better. Educate your children on how their body works and what promotes health and what hurts their health. Children are smart, curious, and love knowing how things work (especially when it comes to themselves). Our bodies are always trying to tell us something so teaching your little ones listen to their body at a young age is going to improve their health for life.
Use Natural Remedies: If your child has a minor aches/pains or a common cold/flu and you’ve spoken to your physician to make sure it’s nothing serious, then instead of going to the doctor and taking medicine for the small stuff use time tested and safe natural remedies. Such as: honey and lemon juice for a sore throat, ice cubes wrapped in a bandanna for headaches, or chamomile tea for colic. This approach reinforces your and your child’s control over their health. It also teaches them that you don’t need to take a pill/medicine every time you don’t feel well, which in the long run will help empower them to treat their body right and be active in their healing process.
Avoid Sugar & Processed Foods: When kids are sick and under the weather it’s the most important time to feed them healthy, whole foods! Sugar suppresses the immune system and makes it much harder to heal when you have any type of illness or injury. Avoid all sweets and processed foods containing any type of sugar when your child is sick. I know this is tough because kids want treats when they feel down and in the U.S. it’s common to get jello and pudding when you’re sick. However, sugar is the last thing you want to put into your child’s system when it is fighting to heal itself. Give your child water, bone broth soups, and fresh fruits and veggies (oranges, berries, apples, bell peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes) when they are sick. Brazil nuts also pack an immune boosting punch along with fresh garlic.
Lastly, have some fun and make your kids laugh when they’re sick. Laughter is the best medicine and will boost both their physical and emotional health when they’re feeling down.