By Jessica Jane Sammut, MD® Editor-in-chief
This time of year I’m always wanting to give my two boys a much-needed wellness boost, especially as my baby-daddy is a pharmacist, he’s always banging on about cold and flu season. By this point of the year, the whole fam is usually drained and tired as the season changes, and this year, ‘Rona has ramped it up, making the health of our kids an even bigger deal. But it’s nothing to freak out about, we mums have been looking out for our babes ever since they were born, so we are pretty smart at having some clever hacks to keep them well. Here are my top 6.
1 // When it’s bed, it’s bed
We all know how sh*tty we feel when we don’t have enough sleep, well our bambinos feel that too, which is why we need to make sure they’re getting the right amount of sleep. Toddlers need about 12 hours of sleep at night, three- to six-year-olds need 10-12 hours, and seven- to 12-year-olds need 10-11 hours. While no two kids are the same, I swear Zac was allergic to sleep, whereas Finn was a dream sleeper, there are some #mumhacks to help your kids to sleep more soundly (and help you catch some zzzzs too!)
With my two, I found the biggest thing was temperature. So if your bae is feeling too hot or cold, they’re more likely to wake up during the night. Plus, as we slip into Winter, the change of seasons can make it hard AF, so layer-up and if you can, dress your babe in breathable fabrics (avoiding synthetics), because it helps them regulate their temp and be more comfy.
2 // Lock the fridge
Ok so anyone else over their kids constantly snacking?! I swear my boys have been going through a weekly food shop in about two days. Finn would live off bread and crackers if he could! I’ve actually had enough, so am now making lunchboxes at home in #iso so I know what they are eating, and I have to say, it is working sooooo much better. The boys know they have to make their lunchboxes last until 3pm. Hoo-bloody-ray.
What I’ve also done is sussed out things that are easy to give the boys, but healthy too… things like high-fibre oat bars, energy-boosting bananas, DIY trail mix and veggie wraps. And my latest hot tip is straight off the shelf and takes no prep, but is super healthy – Nexba’s Live Sparkling Water – see my rave about them below.
3 // Get them moving
Exercise is always important when it comes to health and wellness, and usually kids are clocking up their 30 minutes from the moment their feet hit the floor every morning, but #isolife has made us all a little sluggish, especially when restrictions have stopped us from enjoying our fav outdoor activities. Depending on where you live, some restrictions may still be in place, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit around and watch Netflix all day. There are loads of ways you and the kids can get your bodies moving.
Set up an improv circuit in the backyard for the kids to do things like star jumps, skipping and running on the spot; they can also do an online yoga class from your living room; or sign up for an exercise class that is being run via Zoom.
4 // Boost their immunity with probiotics
With my hubby being a pharmacist, I’ve long been aware of the benefits of probiotics. In fact, probiotics have always been top of my list for my own health, so I am stoked to have discovered Nexba Live Sparkling Water, with over 1 billion probiotics (live bacteria) in every can, to help keep the boys well. And they don’t even realise it’s good for them, score!
“When probiotics are ingested, they have a positive effect on our digestive systems and immune system”, says Nutritionist and mama, Lexi Crouch. “The body has both good bacteria and bad bacteria that reside within us and probiotics are a way to make sure you keep the body balanced. A poor balance of gut bacteria in children can increase the risk of a lowered immune system, making them susceptible to cold and flu, and a diet which includes probiotics, can help enhance and boost children’s immunity, particularly whilst navigating coronavirus and the Winter season ahead.
“You can find probiotics in yoghurt or other fermented foods, as well as Nexba Live Sparkling Water – a healthy, naturally sugar-free drink with no artificial sweeteners and rich in probiotics with a billion probiotics in every can. As a parent you can rest assured that you’re nutritionally providing your child with a healthy option that is going to help keep tummies happy and immune systems boosted, through the delivery of good bacteria which helps to keep children energized, healthy and at their best!”
Nexba Live Sparkling Water is my go-to healthy #mumhack #kidsnack. The kids love the passionfruit flavour (which is all natural BTW), and my fav is watermelon, cucumber + mint. Grab it at your local Woolies in the sparkling water aisle, they are so yum.
5 // Reset with time outside
Fresh air and sunshine boosts the mind, body and soul, even getting out of the house and going for a walk around the block or along the beach will do wonders for their mental health and immunity. I feel that getting out into nature resets the system and helps me reconnect and feel more grounded, and my boys are the same, so we always try to get our dose of vitamin sea as much as we can, or hit the local hiking trail for some much-needed zen time. Namaste.
6 // Schedule in some chill time
My boys have been home with me 24/7 since March, and I know loads of other families are in the same boat. That’s a lot of time at home. And because they’ve been homeschooling, the hours, days and weeks all seem to melt into one – WTF even is a weekend anymore? That’s why the kids need some time to stop and chill. Give them their own space and time to be themselves and do whatever it is they want to do. It’s a sanity saver for mama too!