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10 Tips To Keeping Children Healthy And Active During The Winter Months

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, explores five tips for establishing healthy routines for babies in winter.

“Caring for a baby is a full-time job, regardless of the season. However, winter can add extra stress for parents and their little ones,” says Murray Hewlett.

“Establishing a few simple routines into daily life can help families of babies enjoy the colder season with fewer disruptions.

1. Embrace Outdoor Play

Whether it’s a brisk walk or a game of tag in the garden, spending time outside can improve your child’s mood and energy levels. Spending time outdoors also ensures your child is exposed to natural sunlight, which is crucial as it helps the body produce vitamin D, an essential nutrient that supports bone health and boosts the immune system.

2. Create Indoor Exercise Opportunities

When outdoor play isn’t possible, take the action indoors. Set up a mini obstacle course, host a dance party, or engage in active games like hide-and-seek or indoor scavenger hunts. Look for fun and interactive exercise videos or games explicitly designed for children to get their hearts pumping and muscles moving.

3. Prioritise Nutritious Meals

Keeping your child’s immune system strong during winter can help prevent colds, flu, and other respiratory infections. A robust immune system starts with nutrition. This season offers an excellent opportunity to incorporate hearty, nutrient-dense foods into meals, such as root vegetables, dark leafy greens, and seasonal fruits packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

4. Stay Hydrated

Colder weather naturally decreases the body’s perspiration rate, which in turn can reduce the sensation of thirst. Research suggests that children don’t sweat as much as they would in warmer conditions; they might not feel the need to drink as much. You should keep your child hydrated throughout the day by offering water, herbal teas, or warm soups to help keep them hydrated.

5. Ensure Sufficient Sleep

Shorter daylight hours in winter can negatively affect your child’s mood. Adequate sleep helps children regulate emotions, contributing to better mental health during these darker months. Create a relaxing and consistent bedtime routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps stabilise circadian rhythms, making it easier for children to fall asleep at night and wake up refreshed.

6. Encourage Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene goes a long way in preventing the spread of germs. Encourage your child to wash their hands often with soap and water, scrubbing for at least 20 seconds before meals, after using the bathroom, and after coughing or sneezing. For times when soap and water aren’t handy, make sure they have access to hand sanitiser.

7. Layer Them Up

Ensure your child is dressed appropriately for winter. Layer clothing to trap heat close to the body, and remember hats, gloves, scarves, and boots. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts and consider packing an extra jersey in your child’s school bag.

8. Foster Creativity Indoors

Encourage creativity and imagination indoors by providing artistic expression, storytelling, and imaginative play opportunities. Set up a crafting station with supplies for painting, drawing, or crafting seasonal decorations. You should motivate your child to create games, plays, or stories to keep their minds engaged.

9. Limit Screen Time

While some screen time may be inevitable during winter, prioritise activities that promote physical activity, creativity, and social interaction. Encourage your child to take breaks from screens to engage in active play or spend time outdoors.

10. Lead by Example

Be a positive role model. Demonstrate healthy habits like regular exercise, balanced nutrition, sufficient sleep, and proper hygiene. Involve the whole family in activities that promote health and well-being.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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