By Meenal Arora
The winter season is in full swing. The cold weather can take a toll on your children’s health as their immunity is at its lowest during this time of the year. Whether you’re out and about with your little one braving the elements, or getting cozy at home, don’t let cold-weather play a spoil-sport. Here are some tips to keep your kids protected this winter season.
It all begins with the wardrobe: Layer your kids!
As your little ones get ready for school, bundle them up in appropriate clothing to shield them from the biting cold outside. Dress them in breathable lightweight winter wear and not in bulky clothes. Go for a cotton under-layer over which you can add a woolen sweater or a warm jacket.
Always make sure to dress up your children in layers when sending them off to school, so that they can take off just the upper layer when they feel a bit hot. It’s better if the outer jacket has a zipper so that the child can easily remove it.
Mittens can be used to protect the hands while a snuggly fitting cap over the hood of the jacket can be used to protect the head and ears from the cold.
Make your indoors safe and comfortable
Use a cold-air humidifier in your children’s room to add moisture to the inhaled air and prevent stuffy nose and nosebleeds. Saline nose drops can also be used to help keep their nose moist. Also, don’t forget to aerate their rooms. A closed warm room can attract more microbes than a room that has proper air inflow. You do not need to open all the windows and doors. You can just leave the windows and doors open for a few minutes when the sun is shining bright so that clean air can flow through the room. Sunlight is a natural disinfectant and should be allowed to let in your rooms.
Don’t forget to drink water in winters
Just because your children do not feel thirsty in this cold weather doesn’t mean their body is hydrated. With layers of clothing and turned on heaters, your children’s skin tends to lose its moisture and become chapped and dry.
Drinking adequate water is crucial to prevent winter dehydration. Water plays a vital role in regulating your children’s body temperature, help them stay energetic, and protect their immune system to fight back cold and flu. So, do ensure that they drink plenty of water throughout the day. Since these days water will be slightly on the colder side, make it lukewarm and keep it in a thermos flask for drinking.
Change bath time routine
In winters, children are prone to catch a cold while taking showers, and hence, bath times need to be briefer. You should not leave your kids in warm showers or hot water tubs for too long as it can rob their skin off its natural moisture. A shower should be preceded with a good oil massage and followed with dollops of moisturiser to ensure that your children have soft, supple and healthy skin that glows even during the harshest of winters.
Mustard oil, sesame oil, olive oil and almond oil are good options for massage during winters. Also milder versions of soap should be used for kids to prevent their skin from drying out. Baths should not be skipped as it can lead to infections and communicable diseases like cold, flu, pneumonia.
Indulge in outdoor sports, but with care
Ensure that your children are getting the required amount of daily workout. Winters do not mean that your kids need to spend the entire day indoors under the blanket. Just make them put on their winter gear and step out with them for regular exercises. But going outdoors during early morning hours should be strictly avoided.
The harmful smog and severely low temperatures during morning hours puts your children’s health at risk. You can go for afternoon game sessions with your children to help them stay active. Enhanced fitness will ensure that they develop the desired immunity to fight off the winter infections like flu and the common cold.
Keep their skin safe with sunscreen
Nothing beats the feeling of basking in the winter sun. Exposure to sun can fulfill 90% of your child’s vitamin D requirement. Although the sunshine in winters is enjoyable and good for your children’s overall health, it also contains the harmful UV rays. If you are going to expose them to the sun for a prolonged period of time, it may lead to sunburn and skin cancer in them. So make sure you do not forget to slather some sunscreen on their skin whenever they go outdoors.
Keep a watch on what they eat
Keeping a check on your children’s diet during winters is of utmost importance to strengthen their immune system. Whole grains like rice, wheat, jowar, bajra, oats etc. have a warming effect, and should be an integral part of their diet. You can combine these with powdered nuts and offer to your child in the form of halwas, laddoos or milk porridge.
Protein-rich lentils also help to retain the warmth of the body. Make it a point to include more garlic in their diet for its antiviral properties. Carrot, beetroot, sweet potatoes, radishes and other root vegetables, and leafy greens should be a regular in your child’s diet as they help build the immunity naturally. Fruits like pomegranates, apples and oranges are also great picks during winters.
Don’t let your child bulk up on junk food. A smarter choice would be low-sugar juices that are high in vitamin C, and which can lessen the severity of winter colds. Even a hot, comforting bowl of chicken soup really works well to prevent a cold and survive the coughing and sneezing season.
These are a few ideas to keep your kids warm, healthy and safe during winters. So enjoy the chill with your children, and have a happy winter!
The columnist is Founder Director, Shemford Group of Futuristic Schools. Views expressed are the author’s own.