As the cold and flu season approaches, parents everywhere share a common concern: keeping their children healthy. A recent survey of 500 parents with children aged three to six revealed that 51 percent of them worry about balancing work commitments when their children fall ill. In addition to the stress of juggling work and parenting, parents are also concerned about their children’s well-being, especially with an average of 2.5 illnesses per month during the autumn season.
In this article, we will explore the challenges parents face during the cold and flu season and provide tips for boosting your child’s immunity. We’ll also share insights from Olympic champion Greg Rutherford MBE and dietitian Dr. Carrie Ruxton to help you navigate this challenging time.
The Parental Dilemma
The survey findings show that parents face multiple challenges during the cold and flu season. Here are some of their top concerns:
- Watching Their Children’s Vibrant Personalities Fade: More than half of parents (51 percent) are deeply concerned about seeing their children’s lively personalities dim when they are sick. Illness can take a toll on children’s energy and happiness, causing stress and worry for parents.
- Sleepless Nights: Sleep is essential for children’s well-being, and 40 percent of parents report sleepless nights when their children are unwell. Lack of sleep can affect both the child and the parents’ overall health.
- Fear of Catching Their Child’s Illness: A significant 44 percent of parents fear catching their child’s illness. This not only affects their well-being but also adds to the challenges of caring for a sick child.
Empowering Parents with Expert Advice
Olympic champion and devoted father of three, Greg Rutherford MBE, emphasizes the importance of nutrition and immunity during the cold season. Rutherford believes that ensuring kids receive a nutritious and balanced diet is key to supporting their immune system.
Taste is crucial for children, and Rutherford recommends snacks like Petits Filous, which children enjoy and are rich in immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin D. The key is to provide kids with delicious options while ensuring they get the essential nutrients they need.
Dietitian Dr. Carrie Ruxton shares valuable tips for parents looking to boost their children’s immunity:
- Taste the Rainbow: Encourage your child to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, as they are rich in vitamins A and C. Aim for the recommended five servings a day, which can include dried fruit, frozen or tinned vegetables, baked beans, and a daily glass of 100 percent fruit juice.
- Vital Vitamins: Look for fortified foods like yogurts and fromage frais that are rich in vitamin D, which is often deficient in the UK due to diet, lifestyle, and weather. For example, just two small 94g pots of Petits Filous can provide 50 percent of a child’s recommended daily allowance of vitamin D.
- Sunny Side Up: Eggs are a great source of folate and B12, known for supporting immunity. Get creative with omelettes or homemade pancakes that include eggs, making them an enjoyable part of your child’s diet.
- Healthy Snacking: Instead of offering empty calories from sugary sweets and crisps, create a picky platter of healthy snacks like peppers, unsalted nuts, dried apricots, easy-peeler citrus fruits, and carrot sticks.
- Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is essential for overall health. Experiment with “spa water” by infusing it with slices of fruits like citrus, berries, or cucumber. This can be an enjoyable way for kids to increase their water intake.
- Vitamin Sea: Fish is a valuable source of immunity-boosting nutrients like zinc and selenium. Include fish in your child’s diet, such as grilled salmon, tinned tuna, or fish fingers.
The cold and flu season can be challenging for parents, but with the right knowledge and strategies, you can empower your children to stay healthy. By focusing on nutrition, a balanced diet, and key nutrients, you can enhance their immunity and reduce the impact of illnesses during the colder months. It’s essential to make informed choices that support your child’s well-being and vibrant personality, even when the temperature drops.